Mikey Junior

DownBeat Magazine review

Editor's Pick, May 2014
Mikey Junior, Traveling South
(SwingNation/VizzTone)
"In 2014 it’s rare to encounter a blues album in which the production plays just as important a role as the music itself. Properly recording the diverse sounds of a harmonica in the studio is no easy task, and for his latest album, blues harp master Mikey Junior turned to his guitarist-producer Dave Gross, who has done a superb job. On the title track to Traveling South, the harmonica has a spooky, gothic vibe, and on “The Cheat,” Gross has framed the harmonica so that it has an almost three-dimensional sonic quality. Gross demonstrates great control of dynamics here: He makes Michael Bram’s mighty drums sound positively primal on “Morning On My Way,” while on the delicate fadeout to “Nobody Does It Like Me,” Mikey Junior’s subtle harmonica riffs evoke visions of a whispering ghost floating down a hallway. On his eighth album, Mikey Junior contributes 10 original compositions among the dozen tracks. As a composer, his subject matter is often interpersonal relationships, and as a musician, he’s not aiming to reinvent the wheel. But his amazing skills on diatonic and chromatic harmonicas—combined with muscular vocals that offer just enough growl without getting cartoonish—make him an exciting presence on today’s blues scene. The best way to hear his latest album is with the volume cranked way up."
—Bobby Reed

At Lurssen Mastering for Mikey Junior's "Traveling South"

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Recently I had the absolute honor of attending the mastering session for Mikey Junior's upcoming album, "Traveling South" with some of my heroes, Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen at Lurssen Mastering. These guys have put the finishing touches on countless records that you all have undoubtedly heard, as well as on many that are personally among my favorite pieces of recorded music (particularly many T Bone Burnett productions). Sitting in the very room where all of these records made their final stop before going out into the world, was a surreal experience. It was truly amazing to hear that intangible and indescribable touch slowly working it's way all throughout this album, right before me.
 
Generally, there is a certain quietness in the role of mastering engineers, to not impart too much of something that wasn't the intent of the producer or the artist. However, while subtle and unobtrusive, there is a unmistakable sonic identity to the mastering of Gavin & Reuben. It's the gooeyness, the controlled but considerable low end, the warm texture in the midrange, the presence that never ever becomes brash, the air that's always in perfect proportion to the source, and the musical movement of compression. These are only six out of probably hundreds of phrases I could use to describe their elusive fingerprint, because after mentally absorbing innumerable diverse albums that they have worked on, all that remained between the recordings were these profoundly understated yet signature qualities.
 
I was glad to just sit back and let them do their thing, but it was an extra treat to talk quite a bit and then just listen to what they had to say. Highlight of the year for sure.
 
P.S. the record sounds AMAZING, so please stay tuned!!
www.lurssenmastering.com

 

Mikey Junior comes to Fat Rabbit Studios

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It was an amazing 3 days in Fat Rabbit Studios producing/engineering & performing on Philadelphia roots/blues artist, Mikey Junior's upcoming record. There was something spectacularly rare about the chemistry between everybody involved, and the music undoubtedly reflects that. Everything felt perfectly natural and each song inspired a brilliant performance out of everyone involved. Thanks to Mikey Junior, Dean Shot, Matt Raymond and Michael Bram for giving it everything you got! I cannot wait for you all to hear what this album sounds like. This record is going to leave a big mark!

http://www.mikeyjunior.com