Warren Improves with Sophomore Effort
It’s no secret among my friends that I’m a big fan of Michael Warren, a musical phenom from Hoover. He just held his CD release party last night at WorkPlay in downtown Birmingham. I was even able to convince my wife to let my 12 year old daughter attend the concert on a school night <smile>. That meant I couldn’t stay for the whole show, but that didn’t keep me from capturing some new video for my YouTube account and snapping some pix from the balcony for my FLICKR account.
Before the show started, we stopped by the front table in WorkPlay’s lobby and met Michael Warren’s parents. His father was handling the CD sales and his mother was hovering behind. The pride in their son is obvious. We bought his 2nd commercially released CD, “Race to Beat the Sun“, and he even came out before his show to autograph it with personalization to my daughter. :^)
Michael has cut down on the grunts that accentuate his prior performances/recordings. I don’t know if this is a conscious thing, but it’s as much of his style as Taylor Hicks’ spinning around on stage and whoohoo-ing. For that matter, Michael Warren’s got a particular style of the way he holds his acoustic guitar (see this picture for example) and bends his knees that seemed to be missing from last night’s performance.
His concert performance was a nice introduction to the new CD. But, it could not do justice to the well balanced/mixed renditions on the album itself. It was nice to hear some new takes on some of his older material… the new band members have obviously exerted some influence. Check out these videos on YouTube for an example:
I also didn’t quite “get” the workout look of the current band. The knee length shorts and the drummer’s headband wasn’t a consistent look with the music, the lyrics, or Michael’s persona. Of course, what do I know?
As I write this blog entry, I’m listening to his new CD on the 2nd runthrough… there’s the line again “what do I got to do” slipped into another lyric. He’s still writing songs about his relationships and angst over (former?) girlfriends. His tender lyrics mix well with the thoughtful melodies throughout the album. A couple of his early songs make an appearance on this new album with an updated sound. Personally, I like some of his early renditions (especially those on his now out-of-print indy album) better… but these versions may be more radio-friendly. I dunno.
Regardless, this is one musical artist out of Birmingham well worth watching. He may not have chosen the American Idol path taken by Taylor Hicks, Rueben Studdard, or Bo Bice… but he may yet break into the mainstream. His new CD is soooo new, that iTunes doesn’t even have the playlist loaded <sigh!>.
Go Michael Go!!!