CD Review: Michael Lane – Traveling Son
by Antony Bailey for Country Music News International
German artist Michael Lane’s ‘Traveling Son’ is his fourth album to date and was released back in October 2019 shortly before the beginning of the pandemic. It was self-produced alongside Greywood records, and it is available to purchase on all digital platforms. It is safe to say it had a positive impact on the thriving country scene not only in the U.S but in his native Germany. The album, comprising of twelve songs in total is emotive and evokes memories of a bygone era which is arguably what makes the album a must listen for anybody who is yet to hear it.
Not only is it the title of the album but the first track to be played. The song is moving and whisks you away on a trip down memory lane. ‘’Dusty photographs in the basement of grandfather, tells a story of my childhood long ago’’ is the first line of the song and has resonance with almost everybody listening to the track. He often fluctuates between falsetto and chest voice allowing him to diversify his pitch and approach to the song as well as showcasing his range and versatility.
‘Enjoy The Show’ is much more upbeat, briefly reminding the listener of a disco era before it is moulded with country. Consequently, the outcome is a country pop song gripping you tight and is almost impossible to not tap your toes along to the beat. ‘Believe’ tones it down a notch and is quite emotive, revisiting a period of time that may have once been problematic. It is a backed by sone solid fills on the kit and good use of intonation on the guitar. The song, much like the rest of the album is reflective offering a sense of recovery and redemption.
‘Worth it’ is a continuation of the previous song evoking a sense of reflection and deep sorrow from a moment in time that ultimately will never erase itself from the memory. The album ultimately lends itself a way of learning to live with ‘’tough times’’ and understanding that although there will be bad days ahead, life is still ‘Worth it’ despite often feeling like giving up and allowing difficulties in life to get the best of you. It is ‘Worth it’ to keep going even in the darkest moments because things will slowly start to improve if you remain emotionally strong, persistent and persevere through the hardship that occurs for all of us throughout different life stages.
‘Head For The Hills’ offers a sense of escapism. When life gets in the way and at times becomes unbearable, there is always the option to ‘Head for the hills’ to breathe, reflect, and search for some clarity. The song is a story of sorrow but lends a hand to those struggling as a way reassuring the listener that ‘’everything’s gonna be alright’’ in the words of Bob Marley.
‘Love Will Save The World’ is a title which emphasises exactly what the album is about. Life is difficult and at times hate gets in the way and too often wreaks havoc and destruction around the world. However, we all know that love will always override hate and what better way to spread love than through music. Music is the one thing that transcends all boundaries, languages, and cultures to unite the human race and what more is there to say other than ‘’Love Will Save The World’’ This song is a toe tapper regardless of your religion, language, or culture.
‘1982’ is passionate and sang in falsetto throughout showcasing his ability as a singer-songwriter. The song is a consistent continuation of the previous songs on the album in terms of timbre, dynamic fluctuation, instrumentation, and the manner in which he delivers the lyrics with his ability to switch from chest voice to falsetto without any issue.
‘Wish You Were Here’ offers a sense of longing as he is pining for the return of a former lover or loved one who has since perished. The song grips you and tugs the heartstrings leaving the listener feeling the little lost by the time the song reaches its climax. The song resonates with all of us as each of one has experienced a breakup or the death of a loved one at some point in life.
‘Just A Child’ refers to his childhood growing up in the United States. It reveals the woes along with the trials and tribulations of making the transition from a child to a teenager before becoming an adult. The song briefly touches on the subject of financial struggles which can decimate love and put extra strain on family ties. The song is much like the rest of the album in terms of instrumentation, timbre, and tempo.
‘Stormy Weather’ can be taken literally or metaphorically. ‘’I see the sunset in your eyes’’ is about a broken relationship where he questions ‘’where did things go wrong?’’ The song remains acoustic throughout while he showcases his ability sing falsetto. The reverb on the lyrics offers an extra sense of sorrow and creates more tension in the deliverance of the lyrics.
‘Stay’ says it all in the song title. The song is about wanting a lover to remain in one’s life rather than walk away from what is a budding relationship. He has fallen in love and wants his partner to ‘Stay’ as he pledges that he ‘’will make you happy if you stay’’ and ‘’there’s no other place I’d rather be’’ A song that sounds like the perfect background music for dining on Valentines Day.
‘Shine’ is the final song on the album and is where we see a subtle change in meter although the tempo, instrumentation, dynamics, and storyline remain the same. The album is a must listen for anybody looking to discover something new or simply looking for a sense of security and reassurance to help them through a challenging period. The album is quite repetitive but enjoyable nonetheless and definitely worth a listen for an artist firmly establishing himself on the country music scene.