As the sun is starting to come through our windows, there is nothing better than some porch-friendly music to drag us out of those rooms – always with a music-friendly device, in order to have the most appropriate celebratory soundtrack. Today, I’d love to suggest you a multi-tasking EP, which you can listen to in the bedroom, on your car, or sitting on your porch. “American Matador” is the debut EP of Michael and the Wild Roses, available via Mystical Records.
Just like Bruce Springsteen did a while ago with the E Street Band, the band is the sum of Michael and his “Wild Roses”, which are a rotating cast of friends and musicians that contribute to his songs and play live with him: “Having a variable line-up is interesting to me because it allows more people to be a part of the band and contribute on one EP, or every future album I do, or somewhere in between. Having myself as the only constant puts more pressure on me as a songwriter, but I’m okay with that.”
The EP is versatile in its approach as it touches various influences, such as Daniel Rossen, Laura Marling, Lucinda Williams, Radiohead, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Wilco: “Daniel Rossen and Laura Marling have had a huge influence on how I play guitar or at least acoustic guitar. The first song on the EP “Static Love” is very evident of Daniel Rossen’s influence on me. The way I write lyrics has always been influenced by Radiohead. I love how Thom Yorke can sing basically two sentences of words for five minutes and it never really feels like he’s singing so little. It always feels like there’s so much there.”
His music is more a blend of fuzzy Americana and minimal country, emphasising on the effect of the vocals and the immediate power of the folk-energy. The EP draws from artists such as Lucinda Williams, creating a distinctive blend in “One More for the Road”: “She’s just cool I want to sing like her and have these great songs you can drive to, sing to, or listen to on your porch. The others I mentioned have influenced my overall sound in one way or another.”
The music draws from different folk traditions, and is strongly related to the classics, therefore it is not surprising that Michael took part to The Fleet Foxes tribute album: “ It is a celebration of the band, but it’s more of a thank you from the fans. Robin Pecknold, the lead singer, has a really strong relationship with his fans and he can be very generous to us. Everyone who took part in the tribute was a fan first and this gave us a chance to show our gratitude. It was really interesting to hear such different takes on these songs and everyone truly made it their own.”
When not recording, you can find Michael spending “as much time at the beach as I can”, making all of us really envious. No worries Michael, we are not mad at you, we can just give your EP a spin and pretend to be there with you, sitting on the porch looking at the sea.