Mike Howe is a veteran in the music business, but I feel that ey has continually kept eir ear to the ground. This means that there is a vibrancy to each of the tracks on Island of Anywhere that simply is not present on a release at another musician’s similar part of career. After the strains of Beyond the Mountains wrap up, listeners are provided with an emotionally affecting track that straddles the barrier between environment and civilization. Cutting off at the three and a half minute mark, Flowers of Penberi represents the perfect microcosm of elements that are touched upon during Island of Anywhere’s run time.
Branches and Stars is another peak for Howe; there is a substantially different feel for this effort than is heard on the remainder of the album. While the song is still tremendously emotive, I feel that there is a certain openness that really hammers home the environmental marker of the track’s title. Never Far from You is slightly slower in tempo than a Big Sky, but I believe that the tracks acts well in establishing a foundation for the rest of Island of Anywhere’s tracks. By showcasing smart arrangements with talented playing, listeners will be firmly affixed to their chairs through the rest of the album.
Kayak Trip touches upon the element of water on an album where a number of the tracks (Top of the World, Branches and Stars, Sunset) touch upon air; this keeps the album fresh while creating a better interpretation of the earth as well as the titular Island. By the time that Days Gone By closes up, listeners should know this already – Island of Anywhere is a must-buy album. Pick this up from the link above or from any number of online or brick and mortar stores.
Top Tracks: Beyond the Mountains, Waves on the Shore
Mike Howe – Island of Anywhere (CD) / 2011 Real Music / 17 Tracks / http://www.realmusic.com