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Tramp, Mike: Museum

Mike Tramp's new album Museum picks up exactly where his previous disc Cobblestone Street left off. Again, following his new-found, back-to-the-roots direction, most of the songs are built around his acoustic guitar and amazing vocals with thoughtful and introspective lyrics. Keyboards and electric guitars are used sparingly in order to bring depth to the songs. This singer-songwriter approach sees Tramp at his expressive best: once again he writes about a wide range of subjects. The opening song "Trust in Yourself" is about corrupt politicians and law-makers and, while it's a good piece, I feel the opening track on his previous album is a lot more powerful as it helped set the mood for the entire disc. This song, on the other hand, is more of a stand-alone tune.

"Down South" picks up the pace with a playful riff while "Better," informed by a subtle keyboard melody, suggests he is "slowly getting better" after the tumultuous period he went through being away from his wife and children, which most of the songs on Cobblestone Street dealt with. "Freedom" sounds like a song off of Recovering the Wasted Years. A nice mid-tempo piece, the song basically chronicles his life on tour and how he feels the need to break free every now and then. "And You Were Gone" and "Commitment" are both mellow in their flow, highlighting Tramp's unique, easily recognizable vocals while "Slave," which gives the impression it was recorded live in a single take, is a nice rock track lamenting the death of miners. This song also hits home given there was a mining disaster in Turkey a few months ago taking the lives of more than 300 people who were just trying to put food on the table.

Without doubt, the most personal song on Museum is "Mother." Tramp has written about his mother before: fans of his first solo album will remember the lyrics on "Have You Ever" where he tells his mother she is "more than God." Also, in his previous album, the title track of Cobblestone Street, he expresses his gratitude to her for raising "three boys on [her] own." Based around a simple acoustic guitar theme in order to draw the focus on Tramp's amazing voice and lyrics, this track basically sums up his feelings, showcasing his love for her in the most direct way: "You were never selfish, you never let us down, and you sacrificed yourself just so we would have it all." The track ends on a hopeful note, when he sings he will make his "life worth living" and "make it up" to her. Ever since Tramp wrote the track "92" on the first Freak of Nature album, I feel there's no one else out there who can give life and meaning to personal lyrics like he can, and this song is another great addition to his catalog.

The album's last track is the beautiful "Time for Me to Go," which is a song that could be on the previous disc given the lyrics detail his difficult relationship with his wife. He sings, "It's time for me to go, but you know I don't want to" and asks, "How do I cry? Now my tears have all run dry."

Overall, while I don't quite like Museum as much as Cobblestone Street, which contains stronger melodies and more personal songs such as "Ain't the Life I Asked for" and "Find It in Your Heart," it is still a great singer-songwriter disc. Unless Tramp works with a top-class guitar player who can not only play but also co-write tunes with him, I think this style suits his solo career best. You want to listen to these albums if you want to hear him give you a piece of his heart and his heart-rending voice, not instrumental dexterity or complex song arrangements.

Tracklisting

  1. Trust in Yourself
  2. New World Coming
  3. Down South
  4. Better
  5. Freedom
  6. Commitment
  7. And You Were Gone
  8. Slave
  9. Mother
  10. Time For Me to Go

Added: July 24th 2014
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 1841
Language: english

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