Mike Thompson was born and raised on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida. My travels have taken me literally around the world, but he always seem to follow my wondering feet back home. Mike love the slow pace, friendly people, and the connection with nature that you get here.
He played in lots of bands, from jazz, to country, to modern rock. When Mike wasn't being too hardheaded to pay attention, Mike learned a lot from all the great musicians and friends that he had the pleasure to work with. He would try to pour all of those lessons and a little bit of myself into everything he do now.
Mike like to read make things and take pictures; he try to be a good friend, a good husband, and a good father. Mike like how a great song makes you feel and love the energy of a concert. His approach to creating music is very straightforward and honest. He'll get an idea for a hook, a melody, a phrase. He would kick it around for a while and see where it goes. Does it feel right? Is there some experience in my life that I can tie to it? Is there something to make it be meaningful, moving, or even funny? If it resonates with him, it grows and takes on a life of its own. All that is left is trying to capture the thought so that it can be communicated to others. Rik Emmet wrote that music is "...not just a game of notes, it's the sounds inside your soul." Mike couldn't agree with him more.
Mike was thrilled at and fiercely proud of, how well the new album came out. Some of those songs have been bouncing around his head for decades. It’s been a fantastic experience working with the amazingly talented people that came together for this effort. The tracks all have stories of their own. While never intended, there are themes of compassion and caring, nostalgia, love found, and friends lost woven all through the album. It is where he is in my life. Dealing with the loss of family members and friends, the joy and hardships of raising kids, and the bitter sweetness of looking back on a life lived. Not every part of every song on there is about his life.
He was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with several big names in music. My producer, JJ Crews, arranged for a local session guitarist to lay down the lead tracks for the entire CD. Before that could happen, he was killed in a horrible accident. Needless to say, we were all shaken. Once we got past the human tragedy, we had to find a replacement. JJ told him he would check with some of someone he had worked with in Nashville to find a session player up there. It turns out the "someone" was engineer Michael Wagener, whose credits include work with Dokken, Metallica, Alice Cooper, Queen, and on and on. He made a few calls, and Mike would get asked if he would like to work with Mark Slaughter. He'll jumped all over that offer! We sent up a few tracks for him to listed to and chew on. After a few weeks, JJ and Mike flew up to Nashville to work in Wagener’s Wire World Studio. Mark was great to work with. He brought in ideas and angles that really brought the tunes to life. All of which were recorded with Michael Wagener’s signature guitar sounds. Amazing!
Country star Collin Raye has been a friend of the family for the last 5 or 6 years. He has done several shows for varies charities we support. He would let him know that he was working on an album of his own and joked that he should come sing on it. He said he would love to and Mike thought that would be the end of that. A few months later Mike was chatting with him and he brings it up again. He was good as his word! So, we made the arrangements, he flew down to Panama City to record at JJ Crews’ Boogie Tracks Studio. We decided to do a cover of one of a fun song from Jay Ferguson called Thunder Island. To say that he was a little nervous to be singing on the same song with a guy that has sixteen number one hits is a bit of an understatement! Collin is a heck of a guy and a real pro. He took all the tension out of the room and it was a fun evening of music. He is a closet rocker, and really had it going on in the vocal booth.
While the average music lover might not have ever heard of Eric Conn, the client list of his Independent Mastering service in Nashville ranges from Ted Nugent to Garth Brooks. His final treatment of the tracks was spot on and makes them really explode out of your stereo.