Mike Stocksdale “If You Ask Me I’ll Tell You” (Saint in the City Records, 2020)

Mike Stocksdale has released his new solo album ‘If You Ask Me I’ll Tell You‘ which he self produced in his home studio and is a set of songs that he has been creating over the last three years.  According to Stocksdale this album was the result of stripping down his music to the basics and releasing music which sounded human with all of our inherent flaws.  The music feels inviting and relatable whether the songs are about love, his family, protest songs or general musings on life.

‘A Soul Like You’ is an easy going opening to the album in the vein of Jack Johnson with his lyrics about searching for love and the difficulties that entails – “I’ve been searching for a soul like you, somehow I never get too far.” Stocksdale has stated that he recorded this song about the importance of relationships especially in these difficult times we are living in.

‘No Fun’ continues the narrative of moving forward but not being sure where things are headed.  Stocksdale singing about the importance of looking after one another, the negative aspects of too much social media but recognizing the value of people liking his music and sharing their views on the internet before they cancel their Facebook/Instagram/Twitter or other social media accounts.

‘Build a Wall’ is a rollicking calling out protest song aimed at the 45th President of the United States.  Stocksdale wrote it originally as part of a hip hop project.  In the song he is suggesting a suitable place for the (hopefully soon to be deposed President) being enclosed in a small confined space where he should be held in for crimes Stocksdale lists in the song against the American people.  ‘The Only One’ switches gears again as he shares his beautiful declaration of love.  His ability as a troubadour on par with other folk singers such as Billy Bragg in pulling at your heartstrings.

Overall the album is a nice mix of personal and political well crafted songs from an experienced musician which is well worth a listen.  As Stocksdale himself has noted “Somehow, they all come together and make sense”.

Stocksdale deftly sings about love, family and protests against Donald Trump on his latest solo album
7/10

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