December 1, 1999
SOMETHING IN THE AIR,
Mike Younger (Beyond Music), 1999.
The next “Dylan” is a mantle that has cursed many singer/songwriters, and Mike Younger emerges as the next potential victim. It can’t be helped, the similarities abound; both left home at an early age to travel the country, write rambling 4-minute-plus socially conscious narratives, and play guitar and harmonica. Younger’s vocal style is quite reminiscent of Dylan’s, although more blues laden and intelligible, and his harmonica playing is in the same vein -- played without hands in one of those wire holders wore around his neck. These comparisons are not meant to discredit Younger’s talent; but face it, Dylan is the benchmark all folk artists will forever be judged against.
Nashville veteran Rodney Crowell serves as producer and helps Younger’s solo troubadour style develop into full-blown Wallflowers sound with drums, bass and keyboards (There’s that Dylan thing again). Of the 11 tunes, all penned by Younger who’s not yet 30, there’s not a bad one in the bunch. Standouts include “If By Chance We Meet Again” and the title track “Something In The Air,” both tunes taking advantage of the talents of Nashville session musicians. Drummer John Gardner provides a galloping drumbeat on several tunes that propels them along with a vengeance. Bassist Glen Worf provides the in-the-pocket anchor to round out the band. In the first week I had this album, I listened to it daily, not just to develop this review but because I liked it. This album is a great premiere effort for a young man experienced beyond his age.
A.J. Hidell, Jr.