Mike McCarthy / Blog

FALL 2015 UPDATE - New album in December, weekly residencies

Fall 2015 finds me continuing on my troubadour path and enjoying (almost) every step of the journey...

In April I made the decision to leave Texas for a summer/fall season of gigs in panhandle Gulf Coast Florida. I'm currently based in Pensacola, a molasses-sweet-and-slow beach town on I-10, half an hour from Alabama, a couple hours from New Orleans. The vibe is easy, the food is greasy, the sky is blue, the sun is bright yellow and the gigs are plentiful here from April-October; in the cooler months things slow down and musicians tend to work out of town and record new material.

I'm about to release a new album in December (read more below) and will be announcing several CD RELEASE PARTY SHOWS in Florida, New Hampshire and possibly Texas (TBA)

I play every Thursday 10:00-1:00 @ The Vault in downtown Pensacola, FL and every Sunday noon-3:00 @ The Other End on Harbor Blvd in Destin, FL.

This January I will be competing in the International Blues Challenge, representing the Blues Society of Northwest Florida. There will be pre-IBC fundraiser shows in December and January in FL

In the last year I've had the pleasure of doing several extended solo tours and a series of shorter trips (Texas to Florida, Florida to Texas, Gulf Coast to East Coast, weekends in Jacksonville/St. Augustine, etc) in addition to weekly residency gigs.

I'm not famous, and that doesn't concern me very much. I take great pride in working for myself as working class, migrant musician. I follow seasonal work, travel light and I value the luxuries of travel, freedom and spontaneity. I book my own gigs, write my own songs, buy and maintain my own gear and transportation, etc - it's a one-man operation. I charge an hourly rate comparable to that of a journeyman carpenter/plumber/electrician, and I think of my work in those terms; I'm a working class man who is contracted to provide a skilled trade service.

Over the last year I've worked in three different recording studios to build a multi-faceted album that will be titled "Migrant". Combining multi-tracked studio arrangements, raw solo acoustic recordings and "studio live" material in "electrified acoustic" duo format with a drummer, this album spans thousands of miles, 12 months and many adventures in the life of a modern American roots troubadour. Acoustic slide guitar, bluegrass flat picking and finger picking, Appalachaian style vocal harmonies, Bolivian folk music influences, Mississippi Delta and Hill Country slide guitar trance blues swirl together over this diverse full-length album. The title of the album, "Migrant", refers to and is dedicated to migrant workers everywhere - musicians, farmworkers and others - who are forced to live in the margins of society in order to live an honest life of freedom and provide for ourselves and the ones we love. As Woody Guthrie said, "On the edge of your city you'll see us and then / We come with the dust and we're gone with the wind"

"MIGRANT" will be released next month, in time for Christmas purchase. I will distribute digitally through BandCamp.com and live at my shows in CD format (yeah analog!). EMAIL ME AT mikemccarthysongs@gmail.com TO MAIL ORDER YOUR CD!

You know where to find me. Have a good winter and don't be stranger!

- Michael

New Website, Swamp Music Tour, New Recordings, and Upcoming Austin Shows

I'm happy to announce the launch of www.mikemccarthymusic.com ! You can hear my music, buy & download my music in high resolution with ease, find upcoming show dates, watch videos and connect with me on your favorite social media sites. I'll be in the studio this week with Sean Peterson at Pensacola Audio Documentation! I have 5 new songs, a few favorite old covers and some spicy charango riffs I can't wait to lay down. I'll also be recording the shows on my upcoming Swamp Music Tour, cherry picking the best takes, sending them to Ben Rogers at Loud Sun Studio for editing, and releasing it all on my birthday, 8/30 at my "30th on the 30th" party in Austin (details TBA). The tour kicks off Thursday with a show at The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Then it's on to Pensacola, Florida for a show at The East Hill Yard, Saturday night 6:30-9:30. Sunday I'll be at the Milltop Tavern in Saint Augustine, FL from 5:00-10:00. Next week I'll be playing Monday at Ann O'Malley's (also in Saint Augustine) from 5:00-9:00, Wednesday at New World Brewery in Tampa, FL from 7:00-10:00, Thursday at two venues in Gainesville (Jones B-side 6:30-9:30, The Jam 10:00-'till), Friday the 8th at Steamers Clam Bar & Grill in Cedar Key from 8:00-11:00 and Saturday the 9th at Moe's Original Bar-B-Cue in Mobile, Alabama from 6:30-9:30. Then I'm back in Texas and setting into a string of fun shows: - Thursday 8/14 - Solo acoustic listening room show at The Brass House Blues Tavern (10:50, half hour set) - Saturday 8/23 - Acoustic/electric blues duo gig at Nasty's (9:00-10:30) - Thursday 8/28 - Acoustic/electric power trio show with Nick Boettcher & Nathan Smith @ HandleBar Austin on August 28th (8:00-10:00) - Saturday 8/30 - My "30th On The 30th" Birthday and CD Release Party - details coming soon!!! - Brief sets at Whisler's (1816 E 6th) at 9:00 on *some* Wednesdays (TBA!) with my good friends in the Odas Williams Soul Revue (8/13, 8/20, 8/27) Please support my continued work by Buying My Album - http://mikemccarthysongs.bandcamp.com Thanks for the ongoing support and can't wait to see you all in the coming year!

Settling into Austin, coming back to Florida on tour, summer demo sessions

Haven't written a blog in a while so I figured it was time. I am enjoying life in Austin, TX very much. The music and food culture in this city is great and I find it to be a really supportive environment for musicians. I'm putting together a band, working on a downtown residency, making friends, playing out regularly in both acoustic singer-songwriter and electric band formats. This is a competitive town but people care about what they're doing. It's good to be in a boom town for once. I'm really excited about the Summer I-10 Tour. I'm going to start with a set of shows to kick things off here in Central Texas, then I'm going to skip over Louisiana and Mississippi completely and hit Mobile, Pensacola (can't wait to post up on the beach and see friends here...I love this city), Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, Gainesville, Savannah, somewhere in the Tampa Bay area, and one more show each in Pensacola and Mobile on the way back west to Texas, where I'll conclude with my set at the Brass House Singer/Songwriter Showcase in Austin on August 14th. I'm working on a set of demos for my next album, as well as some blues covers, including material by John Lee Hooker, Junior Kimbrough, Otis Rush, Robert Johnson, Belton Sutherland, Elmore James and others. Look for this to hit somewhere in late August. If you haven't done so already, please go buy my album at http://mikemccarthysongs.bandcamp.com . $8 for 12 tracks of original American roots music.

New album done! Hittin' the old dusty trail...

After nearly two months of work I've completed a new full-length album, From The Shadow Of A Mountain. Blues, folk, country and even Andean music come together over the course of twelve songs of slide guitar, vocal harmonies and instrumental work built on a solid foundation of acoustic guitar. Ben Rogers of Loud Sun Studio in Jaffrey, NH engineered and contributed drums and a ton of heart. I'll be previewing some of the songs here (streaming only). By this weekend high-definition files of the full album will be available for purchase at mikemccarthysongs.bandcamp.com

Plans are in the works for a Kickstarter campaign to fund a tour later in the year. Stay tuned for more details...

Next week I'll begin a several month long journey through the southeastern US to visit old friends, make some new ones, play my music and scope out my next adventure. Starting in Louisville, Kentucky, I'll swing down through northern Florida out to the panhandle, over to New Orleans, Louisiana and finally west to Austin, Texas. I can't wait to meet people, see more of this great country and bring this music out on the road with me and see how it feels out there.

I hope to see some of you in my travels. Keep checking back here in the coming weeks for more streaming album teasers and field recordings of my musical adventuring...

With Love,


Goodbye Florida, hello New Hampshire!

To all of my Gainesville, FL fans: thank you so much for all the love and support you gave me in 2012. It felt sweet that your support made me the #1 ranked Americana musician in Gainesville.

The day after Thanksgiving I was run over by a car and had my left leg broken. Unable to continue working until I heal up, I was forced to leave Gainesville and return to my hometown of Jaffrey, NH. I will be back some day! Until then, much love to Jones B Side/The Bull and Tree - who book the best American Roots acts in Gainesville. Go check out Michael Clatter and Andrew Cook on Wednesdays! Also, go give some love to Eddie and co. over at The Jam on West University - the best open mic/jam scene in town.

To my NH fans and friends: it's good to be back! I'm looking for gigs, jam sessions, and recording opportunities in the coming 6 months. I can't walk, but I can still play the shit out of a guitar.

I have a new album of originals in the works, which will be recorded locally at Loud Sun Studios over the next few months. Featuring layered acoustic guitar tracks, a blend of primal blues and early folk sounds, slide guitar work, harmonized vocals and experimental Bolivian folk rhythm sounds, this should be a rich and complete recording unlike anything I've done before. Check back for new tracks over the next month or two. In the meantime I'll put up some tasty stuff I've been working on recently.

Goodbye Florida, hello New Hampshire!

Song List

My total repertoire of songs is probably around 200, more like 400 if you include songs I could sing if I had the lyrics in front of me, 600 if you include metal from my early days. Here's a list of the songs that are in the forefront of my mind these days:

Come What May - ORIGINAL Sandy Sidewalk - ORIGINAL Woman - ORIGINAL Make It Pay - ORIGINAL Despereaux - ORIGINAL Aquifer - ORIGINAL Pray For The Best - ORIGINAL Fear - ORIGINAL God’s Big Plan - ORIGINAL Wanderer - ORIGINAL Look For The Sun - ORIGINAL Writin’ Desk - ORIGINAL I Read Your Letter - ORIGINAL Sing For Me - ORIGINAL Come Home Soon - ORIGINAL Oldsmobile - ORIGINAL A Drier Place - ORIGINAL Clean Slate - ORIGINAL (lyrics by Seth Roberts) Rye Whiskey - Woody Guthrie I Ain’t Got No Home - Woody Guthrie Worried Man Blues - Woody Guthrie Pastures of Plenty - Woody Guthrie Do Re Mi - Woody Guthrie Corrina, Corrina - Bob Dylan Moonshiner - Bob Dylan House Carpenter - Bob Dylan Don’t Think Twice - Bob Dylan Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan Simple Man - Lynrd Skynrd Curtis Lowe - Lynrd Skynrd Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd Time - Pink Floyd Fearless - Pink Floyd Ramblin On My Mind - Robert Johnson Baby, Please Don’t Go - John Lee Hooker Dimples - John Lee Hooker Kill The Old Grey Mule - Belton Sutherland Meet Me In The City - Junior Kimbrough Let It Be - The Beatles Stand By Me - The Beatles One Way Out - The Allman Brothers Band Whipping Post - The Allman Brothers Band Stormy Monday - The Allman Brothers Band Melissa - The Allman Brothers Band Blue Sky - The Allman Brothers Band Little Martha - The Allman Brothers Band Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More - The Allman Brothers Band Trouble No More - The Allman Brothers Band I’m Gonna Move (to the outskirts of town) - The Allman Brothers Band Willin’ - Little Feat Missin’ You - Little Feat Wild About You Baby - Hound Dog Taylor Talk To Me Baby - Hound Dog Taylor Hurts Me Too - Hound Dog Taylor Ain’t It Lonesome - Hound Dog Taylor Sadie - Hound Dog Taylor Give Me Back My Wig - Hound Dog Taylor Gonna Send You Back To Georgia - Hound Dog Taylor Friend Of The Devil - The Grateful Dead Me & Bobby McGee - The Grateful Dead Bertha - The Grateful Dead Brown-Eyed Women - The Grateful Dead I Know You Rider - The Grateful Dead Been All Around This World - The Grateful Dead Wharf Rat - The Grateful Dead Sugaree - The Grateful Dead Jack-A-Roe - The Grateful Dead Me & My Uncle - The Grateful Dead Eyes of the World - The Grateful Dead Jesus Just Left Chicago - ZZ Top Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top Lay Me Down - Scottish traditional Danny Boy - Irish traditional Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding May It Always Be - Bonnie Prince Billy The Promised Land - Chuck Berry Already Free - Derek Trucks Band L.A. Woman - The Doors The Weight - The Band Long Black Veil - The Band Look Out Cleveland - The Band Up On Cripple Creek - The Band It Makes No Difference - The Band When I Paint My Masterpiece - The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band Suzie Q - Creedence Clearwater Revival Who’ll Stop The Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival Lodi - Creedence Clearwater Revival Cotton Fields - Creedence Clearwater Revival Lookin’ Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival Keep On Chooglin’ - Creedence Clearwater Revival It’s Just a Thought - Creedence Clearwater Revival The Midnight Special - Creedence Clearwater Revival Howlin’ At The Moon - Hank Williams I Heard That Lonesome Whisle Blow - Hank Williams I’m So Lonely I Could Cry - Hank Williams Okie From Muskogee - Merle Haggard Wild Night - Van Morrison Into The Mystic - Van Morrison Old Man - Neil Young Keep On Rockin’ (In The Free World) - Neil Young Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young Don’t Cry - Neil Young Comes A Time - Neil Young Shetland Pony - Son House Travelin’ Light - JJ Cale Say It Ain’t So - Weezer Baby - Justin Bieber (seriously)

Knock Knock!

Who's there? Mike McCarthy, with solo acoustic and electric duo (w/drummer) performances of original and traditional American roots music and carefully-selected covers.

Thank you for checking out my spiffy new music promo site. The downloads are free for the moment, and promo packs with are available free to booking contacts, promoters and radio stations. Let's be honest, they're free to anyone who cares enough to ask and make it happen.

Tell me what songs you like best!

A WORD ON TONE: My old guitar has somewhat bitterly demanded that the audiences of my online promo sites be made aware that, while that Martin (guitar, not Cassidy, but you too cousin...) in the photo may be young and attractive, most of the sounds you're hearing on the recordings were made by my old Cort Earth 60, which I bought at the truly great guitar store, Fiddler's Choice in Dublin, NH in 2004. For my electric duo tone I'm running the Martin with an inexpensive Dean Markley sound hole pickup directly into a Peavey Valve King half stack.

Enjoy the sounds and check back often!

- Mike