Yes, wow. It’s been a while since the never called that “Americana UK Midweek Instrumental Chill Out Zone“, but here we are, it’s midweek, a tough week (aren’t they all?) and boy could we do with some instrumental magic to help us out. And today we have just that, in the form of a quite majestic reshaping of the Gordon Lightfoot classic. Mike Stevens says of his interpretation “You can hear the wind blowing and you can imagine how cold it can be standing by the lake in November in a big storm. It’s got that in it.”
Mike Stevens is an award-winning Canadian harmonica ace, and his new album ‘Breathe In The World Breathe Out Music‘ is out May 20, 2022 via Stony Plain Records. As well as today’s instrumental song, there are seven vocal tracks and another three instrumentals on the album. Mike Stevens is also something of a dynamo in developing music opportunities in Canada – having been responsible for the distribution of more than 40,000 harmonicas, fiddles, keyboards, ukuleles and guitars to more than 10,000 Indigenous young people across Canada and Alaska through ArtsCan Circle, a registered charity Stevens founded in 2002. It’s a good cause, so we’ll forgive this contribution to the worldwide proliferation of ukuleles just this once.
As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough of a backdrop of issues for the album’s recording, Stevens was also navigating a late-stage Lyme disease diagnosis that saw him experiencing difficulties with walking, cognitive function, and joint pain – to the point of often being unable to hold instruments. Quite serious is an understatement. Mike Stevens explains more: “What happened, in a really strange way, is I played differently than I have on any other record because I didn’t have much memory. I was just reacting to what was there in the moment; it wasn’t about muscle memory, or licks, or things I’d thought about, or lines, or anything. It was strictly reactionary.” And all we can say is – what reactions.
‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald‘ features, alongside Mike Stevens, Jeff Getty – acoustic guitar, Kevin Breit – electric guitar, Art Hratchian – drums. And it is so good we think you may listen more than once.