Mike Tramp - 'Cobblestone Street'

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Mike Tramp - 'Cobblestone Street'

This troubled troubadour has finally found his way home.

In his time Mike Tramp has become a teen-idol with pop group Mabel, sold millions of records in the Hair-Metal orientated Eighties with White Lion, rode out the Grunge storm with the heavier and darker Freak Of Nature, and then embarked on a successful solo career in a more traditional rock'n'roll style. The 2008 re-launch of White Lion with a new line-up wasn't the anticipated success, but then Tramp followed it with two of the finest albums of his career to date under the 'Rock 'N' Roll Circuz' banner. Now he has shifted direction once again and returned to his roots by moving towards a more sedate Folk style.

Created just by Tramp and multi-instrumentalist Soren Andersen, the album moves from sparse acoustic numbers interspersed with delicate piano melodies, to more cleverly arranged band-orientated songs, but it's the acoustic guitar that's to the fore throughout, with just the occasional electric guitar textures added subtly to great effect, particularly on 'Revolution' and 'Caught In A Storm'. 'New Day' and the stomping 'Angel Or Devil' are upbeat affairs, while the gentler ballad material like 'What Are You Gonna Do' brings out the emotion in Mike's voice, and the piano-led 'Find It In Your Heart' is beautiful in its simplicity.

Always someone who is never afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, the Folk music style suits Tramp's story-telling style of lyric perfectly, with songs about the love for his family, and also regaling us with tales of his childhood growing up in Copenhagen in 'Cobblestone Street', and memories of his experiences within the music industry on the caustic 'Ain't The Life I Asked For' and 'Once' with Tramp referencing the 'Rock 'N' Roll Circuz' while assuming the role of the clown.

There have been hints of this style throughout Tramp's past solo material, but it's only now, after a career spanning thirty-five years, that he has completely stripped away the big guitars and pounding drums because, in his own words, "I didn't have the guts to do it earlier on. This is where I am, and this is where I am going to stay as a solo artist." And to his credit, he has made it work, and sounds thoroughly comfortable in this environment. After decades of drifting from one genre to another, this troubled troubadour has finally found his way home.

Ant Heeks

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