Friday, October 27, 2017

Mike Procyshyn and Lonesome Boxcar -- Mixtape (for an old flame)

Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of my very first rock concert -- a Cowboy Mouth show at Irving Plaza just weeks after 9/11. It was sorely needed and it changed my life. You should be thrilled because it's the reason we're all gathered here today. It showed me how music brings people together, and how music can and should be a lifeline that keeps us buoyed.

It also gave me a healthy appreciation for roots-inflected music. And that leads me to Mike Procyshyn. This is the band's third album, and you get the sense that they've hit their stride here. Procyshyn's lyrics smoothly transition from one homerun of a phrase to another. His confidence as a writer is matched by his hangdog regret. But make no mistake -- even as the band relates tales of numbed out melancholy, Procyshyn's control over his songwriting is truly impressive. Keep an ear out for it.

Sonically, the band hits a sweet spot between whiskey-slingin' bar bands of old and indie crooners of more recent days. The band leverages country and roots tropes to amplify the emotional stakes of the songs but never reduces them to kitsch and cliche. However, in my mind (and this might get me in trouble) the lyrics focus too much on the abstract for me to place it firmly in country. It's a tricky balance and the band pulls it off admirably.

Mike Procyshyn -- Official, Bandcamp

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