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 MLC Records CD 51067-2, 1997 (47:33)

Michael Lord

 You will believe in Lord

Piano-based singer/songwriter Michael Lord’s untitled album grabbed my attention the first time I heard it from afar. As I approached the source of the sound, and it became louder and clearer, I knew I definitely wanted to hear more. So I borrowed it from its original owner, listened to it four or five times in a row, and fell in love. Well, perhaps "love" is a little strong. Let’s just say I have a big crush. But I am not the jealous type. I am willing to share.

My first impression of Michael Lord’s voice brought to mind Leon Russell, Lloyd Cole, and an early Elton John all rolled into one. But it is all it’s own and well worth listening to. His voice and the music can best be described as "bluesy." With a big hint of rock & roll, a small dash of country. The artist himself agreed with that description when he was kind enough to let me interview him via phone, although he feels that his music will appeal to more than just blues fans. He knows everyone has their own musical tastes but, to quote, "…everyone’s got a pair of Levi’s."

Having listened to the album a million times, I would have put money on the fact that Michael hailed from the South. Good thing I’m not a betting gal! Turns out he was born raised, trained, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. He has been playing the piano since he was 6 years old (classical until he was 15) and, let me add right here, the sounds coming off his piano on the album are probably worth listening to all on their own. Playing the piano (or the Hammond B3 organ) is Michael’s strong suit and he admits that they are his favorite instruments to play (even though he is talented with a guitar and drums as well). He feels he can be most expressive with the piano, although he also plays guitar, which he finds more bendable, easier to rock with, and far more portable.

When asked about musical influences, the twenty-nine-year-old artist replied, emphatically, that Gregg Allman is by far his most beloved singer/songwriter, and Chuck Leavell, Billy Payne, Roy Bittan, and Benmont Tench (among others) do it for him musically. All of these greats have helped in the development of Michael’s own style. Perhaps these names mean something to you but they were all new to me. I just know that I like what I hear.

There are nine tracks on the album and, in each case, Michael is ably backed by talented musicians who add various melodic sounds using their slide guitars, lap steel, violins, mandolins, some brass, and gospel-like background vocals. Each song is a foot-tapper, at the very least. The lyrics are occasionally simple but, when added to the music, and sung in the tunesmith’s sexy, sometimes smooth, sometimes gravelly voice, it doesn’t really matter. At all! You’ll still want to sing along and you’ll find these songs in your head long after you’ve turned off your stereo.

As for particular song recommendations, the artist’s favorite is "Chamber of Mary’s Gun." He says it turned out much more amazing than even he had planned. I, too, quite enjoy this dysfunctional love song (and, again, the sultry vocals). He is also partial to "Fool’s Gold" for sentimental reasons (it was the first song he wrote for the album).

I personally am partial to "Ain’t Gonna Bleed" and "Promised Land." I like the strength of the first, a song that shows us a man who has backbone and has reached his limit in what he’s willing to give. And I like the violin in the forefront of the second, which is a song that I think any hopeful American who has ever even briefly glimpsed reality can appreciate. Both songs are extremely catchy and I really dig the thrust that the female backing vocals bring to the surface. Take a good listen to the piano in "Everyday (Is Like the Day You Went Away)." And, for the more mellow-minded, check out "Waitin’ for the Rain to Fall" and "Ain’t No Good in Goodbye." Two more of my personal favorites.

As for Michael Lord’s immediate future, he plans on continuing to play out with his band, Royal Sloane, and keep working on his solo career as well. He also plans on doing some producing. Not only is this artist intelligent and extremely talented, he is also focused and ambitious and I wish him the best of luck. If you are in the L.A. area, you can pick up a copy of Michael’s album at Tower Records in Hollywood. For the rest of you, you can order through the Web at – Kristen M. Eklund


Michael Lord, lead vocals, piano, Hammond B3, acoustic guitar, percussion; Robin LeMesurier, electric & acoustic guitars; Craig Eastman, lap steel, violin, viola, dobro; Eric Gorfain, violin, mandolin; Bart Walsh, acoustic guitar; Curtis Feliszak, electric guitar; Rich Chadock, 12-string acoustics; Kimberly Shwartz, backing vocals; Leslie Lewis, backing vocals; Karen Nash, backing vocals; Sanetta Gipson, backing vocals; Greg D’Angelo, drums; Matt Laug, drums; Lance Morrison, bass; Phil Soussan, bass; Adam Kury, bass; Vince Bilbro, bass; Bruffie Brigham, bass; Karl Huntor, tenor sax; Glen Marhevka, muted trumpet.


Recorded at Camp Huston and Jake’s Place, Los Angeles, CA. Recorded and engineered by Michael Lord and Greg D’Angelo. Steinway piano tracks 1,5,7,& 9 recorded by Roger Sommers. Mixed by Michael Lord (except for "Promised Land" mixed by C.J. DeVillar). String arrangements by Michael Lord and Danny Lux. Mastered by Michael Woodrum, Straight Copy, Los Angeles, CA.

 song titles

Fool’s Gold • Chamber of Mary’s Gun • Promised Land • Ain’t Gonna Bleed • Ain’t No Good in Goodbye • Somewhere Tonight • Have a Little Faith in Me • Everyday…(Is Like the Day You Went Away) • Waitin’ for the Rain to Fall

Copyright © 1998 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.