Mike Guldin – Tumblin
Blue Heart Records – 2022
15 Tracks; 61 minutes
Mike Guldin is a two-time IBC finalist who has been playing music for over 45 years. He has stated that his band is primarily a dance band, and has referred to the combination of blues, country and rock that they play as “Good Ole Butt-Shakin’ Music”. His latest album, Tumblin, is no exception to that classification. Sandwiched between two acoustic numbers are 13 tracks, 12 of which seem perfect for getting the crowd up dancing. Two songs stray from that formula, as “Home is -Where the Heart Is” is a very pretty ballad, and the album ends with a beautiful acoustic instrumental track entitled “Waterfall”.
Guldin has some wonderful guest musicians on this album, most notably Mikey Junior on harmonica and Kevin McKendree on keyboards. McKedree’s rollicking style fits so well with the honky-tonk sound on several of the tracks. And, Mikey Junior is appropriately featured in the song about the club where he hosts a weekly jam, “The Twisted Tail.” The lyrics to that song paint an inviting picture: “They’ve got women all around shaking their thing and lots of men trying to hide their wedding rings. Drinking, Dancing, playing all night-sure is hard to leave when it feels so right! Tell your friends where to go to forget their cares. Headed on down to the Twisted Tail.” Roger Girke is also a welcome addition to the album, as he and Guldin both contribute excellent guitar work to “House of Cards.”
Guldin’s vocals express character and add to the atmosphere portrayed by the honky-tonk songs, although at times he can over-rely on the use of a growl. In general, you will not find profound lyrics with intriguing metaphors in the 13 original songs on this album. However, the lyrics of “One Percent” are quite clever in how they poke fun at the richest class in America. “The rich just keep getting richer, on the backs of the middle class. They want us to believe the American dream will last…if Robin Hood were alive today, he would come to our defense, and take back all of our money—back from the one percent. Then we finally meet our maker and sweet revenge is what we’ll get. Because the devil will be waiting—waiting on that one percent!”
In addition to the original songs, Guldin also includes very solid versions of two well-known cover songs: “She Took the Katy” and “Key to the Highway”. Overall, this is a “feel good” album that is good advertising for the band and is likely to lure many dancers to future Mike Guldin shows.