18/12/2019 PRESS RELEASE – ACCLAIMED SINGER-SONGWRITER MIKE PLUME SIGNS WITH ROYALTY RECORDS
Like all great singer/songwriters, Mike Plume’s music bears a distinctive stamp. It could be his richly detailed storytelling style, or his unyielding devotion to rock and roll’s original spirit. Or it could just be how his earthy, uncompromising style—often tempered with a sly sense of humour—is impossible to separate from his art.
It’s an approach that Plume has been honing since he first appeared on the scene in the early ‘90s, and has now reached a new peak with his latest album Lonesome Stretch Of Highway. Recorded in his adopted hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, the album marks Plume’s third collaboration with producer Marek David, and the first time they’ve worked together since 2001’s Fools For The Radio. For a lot of us that may seem like a lifetime ago, and indeed for Plume and members of his band who have been with him for nearly three decades, the crackling energy of Lonesome Stretch Of Highway signifies a rebirth in many ways.
The difference this time out is that Plume has learned invaluable lessons through hard-fought experience. “I think with this record, patience has been the key,” he explains. “Some of these songs were kicking around for a long time, but they just weren’t ready. They just didn’t feel finished at the time I wrote them. Close, but not quite. I knew they had potential, so I just kept going back to them on a regular basis. I’m glad that I kept working on them, kneading them, massaging them, because that craftsman-like mentality has, I feel, helped this album to be among the best I’ve made. At the same time I’m a fan of the philosophy, ‘There are no finished paintings. They are all abandoned.’ So what the hell do I know?”
That’s certainly a strong statement from an artist who over course of his career has toured with Steve Earle, John Hiatt, the Mavericks, Blue Rodeo, Corb Lund, and Lindi Ortega. He also got to spend some time working at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, New York, where the late, great co-founder of The Band told him, “I can sure hear that western wind in y’all’s music.” Later, Plume also had the honour of being asked to sing his song “So Long Stompin’ Tom” at the Canadian legend’s funeral.
Needless to say, Plume is proud to carry on those legacies. “You know, I could roll out a list of names for you, of artists who will always inspire me and will always be heroes of mine. Artists whose goal was to create something that stood the test of time—and not just singer-songwriters. I’m talking about painters, authors, actors, and on and on.”
Longtime fans will undoubtedly agree with that assessment after one listen to “Younger Than We Are Today” and “It’s A Long Way” (featuring The Road Hammers), songs that potentially revisit the old question of, “is it too country for rock, or too rock for country?” Thankfully, in this more musically enlightened age, it’s no longer much of a debate, and one Plume doesn’t want to wade into. His music has always been a true reflection of his life, which now includes the added dimensions of aging and fatherhood.
That’s had the biggest impact on his ballads, and Lonesome Stretch Of Highway contains several such as “The Sweet Passing Of Time” that are sure to stir old feelings, or in the case of “Perfume And Gasoline,” put a smile on the face and a tear in the eye of any parent facing the inevitability of letting go.
Three chords and the truth has become a cliché in the music industry—but there’s a reason. Artists who have adhered to that principle are generally the ones whose bodies of work are consistently revisited. With a baker’s dozen of acclaimed releases under his belt, Mike Plume definitely belongs in that exalted company.
Lonesome Stretch Of Highway may be regarded by some as a fresh start for Plume, but for others it is reassurance that one of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters is still at the top of his game.
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