Mike Howe – Heading West (2013) Lossless


Title: Heading West
Year Of Release: 2013
Label: Real Music
Genre: New Age, World
Quality: FLAC
Total Time: 52:40 min
Total Size: 256 MB


01. American Travels
02. Old Wooden House
03. Badlands
04. Hope
05. Navajo Wind
06. The Last Buffalo
07. I Can See for Miles
08. Desert Solitaire
09. Friends Are Lost
10. Wyoming
11. Moon Over Saratoga
12. Drift
13. San Francisco
14. Prairie Dreams

''Occasionally it's good to give oneself up to a particular landscape in your experience, to wonder upon it, to dwell upon it and to listen to the people who made their mark on it. It isn't simply the sublime thrill of moving through magnificent plains, mountain ranges, valleys and cities. It could be the sigh of the wind through juniper trees, or the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset, or the smell of an old wooden church on a quiet street. Distinctive music often defines cultures that have emerged from such a landscape, and so drawing on folk, gospel and jazz influences, these songs are reflections and dreams from my journey.'' -Mike Howe

Mike Howe divides his time between being a guitarist and an ecologist at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales. There is a connection between these two endeavors; listen to the music of Howe and you'll instantly sense his kinship with the natural world, evident by his breezy, nuanced guitar rhythms.

Heading West, which marks Howe's fourth journey with Real Music, features some of his most sublime music to date. The guitar is central on this release, featuring warm, carefree strumming that is accented by keyboards, piano and rhythm. Songs like ''Old Wooden House'' and ''American Travels'' have a pensive beauty to them - the guitar harmonies bear a reflective essence, as if Howe is wandering through old haunt reminiscing of past joys. ''Badlands'' ups the tempo a bit and adds a bit of bluesy groove, while maintaining Howe's signature laid-back flair. A must listen for fans of relaxing guitar music. --Dan Cowan - Music Design/New Sound Dist.

''American Travels'' is the initial track on Heading West, and it provides listeners with an insight into the new direction taken by Mike Howe. Howe establishes a very specific atmosphere for Heading West that is bolstered by ''Old Wooden House.'' There is a pristine and untouched feel to the compositions on this CD that will stick with listeners long after the title closes up. Hope is a very deliberate and alluring styling that weaves together small-time coffee house and full-on operatic rock. What results is something refreshing and utterly unique that makes this disc into one of the best we ve reviewed in the last 12 months.

''The Last Buffalo'' is placed smartly in the middle of Heading West; the arrangement is precisely what listeners need to keep interested in the second side of this title. I feel that the combination of aboriginal and classical elements spice things up considerably, allowing Howe to expand his palette considerably.
''Moon Over Saratoga'' and
''San Francisco'' are two late-disc tracks that destroy the conception of musicians placing their lesser efforts later. ''San Francisco'' is one of our favorite tracks on Heading West as Howe establishes a compelling interplay between the instrumentation and the blank space in which it exists. Despite growing up and living an ocean away, there is no denying that Howe is able to faithfully recreate the spirit and the soul of the American West. --James McQuiston, Editor: NeuFutur Magazine.