Mike Rickard Wing
Atlanta based and OUT singer-songwriter, Mike Rickard, has just released his Sophomore CD, Sweat, as a follow up to his successful debut CD, Stirred Not Shaken. It is clear within the first couple of songs that Mike is a thoughtful story teller weaving words together from his own life experiences and drawing from the far corners of life lessons to share musically with the world. I noticed immediately the production quality as being top-notch and that time and money were well spent in this a very solidly produced musical package. It is amazing to see how far and how good indie music makers have come and how they are standing up to the production quality of that of the big labels minus the big label
The first song on the CD, Sweat, is a
gem of song called “Wild Beautiful Blue.” It is very positive and uplifting in lyric content, melodic
structure and musical arrangement. It
is reminiscent of Sheryl Crow’s, “Soak Up The Sun” or “All I Wanna
Do.” I really believe if
someone came across this song or sought it out while having a bad day that they
would not be able to stay in a bad mood after listening to “Wild Beautiful
The second song on Sweat is “Anything
of Nothing.” From the guitar and
drum heavy intro, this song brings to mind the band, Jars of Clay.
The guitar work and drum beats are driven to deliver the message of
Mike’s lyric which may at first seem to be simple in the thoughts of seeking
to improve oneself or ones life. The
more you listen the more you get the literal and obvious intention of the lyric
and song title. A really nice lyric
moment is - “Doesn’t matter if
I stumble, doesn’t matter if I fall, cause I’m guaranteed to fail if I do
nothing at all. Some say the
destination is the one only prize. But
you’ll never get there is don’t get on the ride.”
I think this line can apply to many people who are often times visitors
in their own lives. Mike sings of
being present and owning this journey of life as not doing so is doing nothing. Again, this lyric might appear simple in thought but it is
deeper as a practically applied concept.
“When The Hot Cools Down” asks the
questions of a significant other where a relationship is going?
Does the relationship have the staying power to endure when the shiny,
new, passion filled early days start to age?
Is seeing the relationship through the intention of his love?
Very memorable hook in the chorus which anchors this mid–tempo, well
sung song that also has a really nice, Santana-esque guitar solo in the musical
interlude that feeds into a bridge that then delivers the listener back to the
The fourth song on Sweat is the title
track. It starts in this faded
scratchy reduced sound quality style that would come from being played from an
old 45. The song then jumps into a more modern, crisp sound with a hot little
wawa guitar that conjures up a guitar line in the style of a James Brown song.
What really stands out in this song is the lush, funky, driving beat that
does seem to hijack ones body and get you moving.
The next track is the guitar heavy
“Only Love.” Rickard sings of
the extreme high and lows that we have all experienced in the game of love and
how it can be the best of times and the worst of times. A great reminder of this in the lyric is -
“It brings out the best, it brings out the worst.
One day a blessing the next it’s a curse.
It doesn’t cost a thing but you know it has a price.”
“Crawling” is an introspective soul
searching exploration when one feels down and out.
It is likely a place where our minds have all gone to.
Mike’s vocal delivery is perfectly connected in this haunting set of
statements of the shortcomings of simply being human.
A powerful lyric moment is - “I
push myself to do, without taking time to be, my eyes are always open but I
never stop to see. I’m drowning
in the shallows but I’m longing for the deep.”
These lyrics are both revealing and haunting.
One of the powerful ballad gems found
on Rickard’s Sweat is the tender and sensitive ”This Time Last Year.”
Mike sings of the universal and sometimes visceral painful life
experience of going through a year of firsts after the loss of a loved one.
Lyrically Mike sings - “It’s
a new year of firsts, after a year full of lasts. Time keeps marching on while I am stuck here in the past.”
What I think is so remarkable about Rickard’s tackling of this
universal topic of loss, is how succinctly he nails this unavoidable life
process right on the head and contains it musically, lyrically, in this thinner,
lighter musical arrangement. Though
Mike Rickard’s vocal work is clear, crisp and solid throughout his CD, Sweat,
I do believe that everything aligns to make this vocally one of the most
powerful songs presented on the CD. Mike’s
vocal delivery is very similar to another OUT singer-songwriting pop star,
George Michael as recalled on Michael’s “Kissing A Fool.”
Michael set the standard for that soft, sensitive, breathy,
buttery-smooth upper tenor range that is brimming with emotion and Rickard
delivers the goods in much the same way on this topically and lyrically sad
“Just Like New” delivers one of
Mike’s grittier vocal performances in an arrangement that is seeped in a
southern rock style with a honky tonk stroll which opens with some great organ
work. I would like to have had
the organ brought out a bit more in the arrangement when it was used and
also used a bit more. I also really
do hope to see more of Mike’s grittier vocals delivered in future songs.
A true feel-good music offering is the
ninth track on his new ten song CD, Sweat titled “Stupid Stuff Like That.”
It reminds the listener of all the great aspects of being in a
relationship through the various simple give and takes that help a relationship
The final song closing out the musical
journey found on Mike Rickard’s CD, Sweat, is the beautiful ballad,
sings of having the last words that Mike’s muse hears at night are I Love You.
The lyric offers an apology in advance and without confirmation as being
necessary for anything that may have been said or done to make his love feel
less than he really is during the day that is now winding down.
I would hope messages such as that are not in today’s world discounted
as unimportant, unnecessary, cheesy or unwanted.
Mike Rickard’s Sophomore CD, Sweat,
has the singer clearly feeling good about his life as his songs reflect upbeat,
uplifting and positive messages through well written, thoughtful, connective
lyrics. Even when dealing with hard
life issues in his songs, Rickard addresses them with a sense of respect,
learning and reverence leaving out any sort of victimized, ‘why me cruel
world’ sort of feeling. Mike
delivers Sweat, his 10 song musical offering with finesse, polish, high quality
production value and a group of supporters who connect to Mike’s musical
vision as demonstrated in his expert and well-skilled musicians and production
people. Indie singer-songwriters
are demonstrating the how’s and why’s of making great, long, successful
careers for themselves and Atlanta’s Mike Rickard is just such an indie artist
who is also a star on the rise.
Learn more about Mike Rickard, where you can see him, and get your copy of his music soon, at his website!
Return to Mike's wing entrance. Go to Terry Christopher wing entrance.
Return to GLBT Artists
The only GLBT Music ranking Chart Online Since 1996! Support GLBT Music vote for your favorite GLBT Artists.
StoneWall Society Network Member!
Receive our FREE monthly newsletter
StoneWall Society free web-based email, 6megs of space.
|Pledge||Job Fair||GLBT Web Reviewers|
|Detailed Site Guide||SWS Community Awards Program||Web/Internet Tools|
|Friends of StoneWall Society||GLBT Petitions|
|Why||Research and Student Assistance Program|
|Favorite Sites||GLBT Web Site Reviews||
History and Reference
SWS GLBTI Artists Promotion
|StoneWall Webring||GLBT Artists Free Promo Service||GLBT Symbols|
|Member Webrings||GLBT Artists ***||GLBT Famous Persons|
|Link to Us||SWS Art World||Archives *** and NEW|
|Contact Us||Pride In The Arts Awards||
|Press Releases||Our Awards|
|NewsRoom||Member Site of the Month Older site program||
Media & Entertainment
|Travel||Previous Member Sites of the month. Older site program||SWS Internet Radio|
|Jacy's Page||Members' This & That Older site program||GLBT Radio ***|
|StoneWall Society Zine||About the founder, Len Rogers||Activities|
*** = Updated N = NEW
Site opened 10/31/99
StoneWall Society 10/99 - 2012