Once more, with feeling

You may think you've never heard Mike Coykendall. But you'd be wrong. The producer of such acts as She & Him, Tin Hat Trio and many more, Coykendall has also recorded on his own and with a variety of groups (including Klyde Konnor and the Old Joe Clarks).

Mike Coykendall
Half Past, Present Pending
(Fluff and Gravy)
This album mixes a few new songs with many of his old ones and a few covers as well. The attempt seems to be to replicate his unique live set up on a studio album. So the sound is straight-up one-man band, but Coykendall's unique "rig" (a semi-drum set, harmonica and electric guitar) gives all of these songs a fresh feel.

The breadth of sound is impressive, and Coykendall has done a fine job of curating the songs. He's been doing this forever (almost), but the skills on display here are almost matchless. One moment is raucous and rowdy, and the next is strikingly intimate.

I'm not opposed to the generic "greatest hits" collection, but I like this approach even better. The problem with putting songs to tape is that they stay static. Coykendall shows how he has allowed his songs (and himself) to evolve over time. This is fascinating as a document, but it's even more compelling as entertainment. Transfixing.

Jon Worley

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