A vocal pop/rock cd?
This project was from a select collection of rock, pop, vocal tunes that I had built up over the years that seemed to be working their way towards a different kind of cd for me. Some of the songs dated back to a period when I was writing songs for the "Randori" project with good friend Jason Pascoe in 2006. I purposely tried to put together a collection of very universal, friendly, uplifting, commercial songs that were not too hard to digest both musically and lyrically. Coming from a jazzy, progressive-rock, 10-minute epic musical background, this was definitely a stretch for me. Heck, there are songs under 4 minutes! This also marks the first time I've ever put myself out there as a lead vocalist! Certainly another stretch from my instrumental comfort zone. And as a vocalist comes the need for lyrics. Again, I thought I'd try my hand at writing my own words to these fun tunes. With the help and inspiration from my loving partner Susan at the time, I was able to pen some words with some semblance of order. The album also introduced some new instruments like the Telecaster, pedal steel, and 6-string banjo, along with the ever beautiful sound of my leslie guitar.
“Puzzle Pieces is a ten-song musical extravaganza that incorporates country, rock, and pop influences into a very solid, likeable, and great-sounding package. The engineering is fantastic, all of the instruments sound great, and Mike sings damn well, too! (This is the first time I've ever heard him sing in the 20+ years I've know him.)...excerpt. Complete review below.” - Josh Sager
“Not often a tune brings a smile to my face, but your songs are part of the "not often"! Your music has a great sound and vibe that will draw many a listener to your camp. Each of the songs have good hooks, and passionate vocal performances. Lyrics are engaging and have appealing imagery. Thank you!”
“Mike Ian's "Puzzle Pieces" - clearly a labor of love for this talented and versatile guitarist/drummer/singer - has something for everyone. While a good chunk of the music is of the popular genre, discerning listeners will love his musicianship and attention to detail - often missing from mainstream music - not to mention the sprinkling in of other influences. One hears hints of country & western, some jazz, some folk, and good ole rock. As with all of Mike's music, the engineering and production are top shelf.” - Carl Johnson