Mike Plume Rock And Roll Recordings…Volume 1

Roots-rocker Mike Plume has long been a favourite live act out west, thanks to intensive touring there with the Mike Plume Band through much of the ’90s. He now splits his time between Edmonton and Nashville and has gone solo. His sound hasn’t changed radically, however, and this new effort definitely showcases his growth as a songwriter. Self-produced, it was recorded in Calgary in late 2003, but a link with Irish label Clann Records will see it get a wider exposure. Plume has more of a populist (and sometimes rowdy) approach than the often affected artistry of young alt-country bands; definitely more Steve Earle than Wilco. Six of the ten cuts were co-written with American Billy Montana, including "Shreveport to L.A.” That is a catchy song, but it’s just a little unnerving to hear a prairie guy dropping American place names (another song is "Birmingham, 3AM”). There are some good hurting’ songs here, such as "Lock It Up,” ("I’m as empty as this drink in my hand”) while the tender closer, "Anna Fall,” is another highlight. A generally impressive outing sure to please his fan base. (Clann)