Artist Name(s):
Mike Thomas

What is your genre of music?
Americana / Country

Give us a little bio about yourself.
First and foremost, I am a husband and a father of two girls and a boy. In addition to writing songs and playing with my band, I am a partner in a small business based in Franklin, TN. While I have been playing with my band for about three years now, I took a hiatus from playing live for about 10 years. It feels great to be making music again and I am excited to release my first studio LP, Three Reasons on June 19th

What made you go into music?
Music has always been a part of my life. I started playing piano and drums at a young age. My parents always encouraged us to be involved in music and my grandfather was a musician. Really music was just always there. I was heavily involved in sports growing up until a serious injury ended my playing days. When that happened, I turned to music and immersed myself in all types of music for the next several years. By age 17, I began playing my first gigs at local coffee shops and even a few bars.

You just released your new single “Adeline”, tell us more about the single.
“Adeline” is the last song I wrote before moving away from my hometown of Knoxville, TN – a place I truly loved and still do. I was processing a lot at the time – everything from pure exuberance to sheer anxiety. It’s one of the most personal songs I’ve ever created and certainly the most personal song on the upcoming record. So personal that my wife and I named our first child after this song. I wrote this one for me and I never expected to record it, much less release it as a single. Yet, when we were trying to decide on the last couple of songs to include on the record, my producer, Tres Sasser, and my friend and lead guitarist, Donald Bright, insisted that “Adeline” was a fit. I wasn’t convinced, but as we began tracking things just began falling in place. With Dave Colella on drums and Tres laying down a masterful bass line, the song really began to take on an engaging groove. Michael Sharp put some beautiful piano on the track and Don played my favorite guitar solo on the entire record. When my longtime friend, Weston Woodford, came in town to sing harmonies and told me “Adeline” was his favorite track on the record, I knew we were on to something…

What is the meaning behind “Adeline”?
For me, this song speaks to moving on, changing direction, and leaving something you love behind.

Describe the track in two words.
Nostalgic Americana

What was the writing and recording process like?
My recording process is probably quite different than most. In addition to writing songs and playing in a band, I own and operate a small business and it’s challenging for me to take extended periods of time off. So rather than blocking off a week or two to write and record, I simply just try to squeeze it in when I can. We actually recorded the upcoming record over the span of about a year.

Who did you work with on the single?
The song was produced by Tres Sasser, Engineered and Mixed by Joe Costa and Mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering. The musicians on this track are, Dave Colella – drums, Tres Sasser – bass, Michael Sharp – keys, Donald Bright – electric guitar, and Weston Woodford – harmony vocal. I also played acoustic and electric guitar on the track.

Do you have any shows coming up?
Yes. Many of our shows have been postponed due to COVID-19, but we have a few shows still on the books over the coming months!

If so where will you be heading?
We will celebrate the upcoming album release on June 19th at the Mockingbird Theater in Franklin, TN. The Mockingbird is located inside the Factory at Franklin – it’s a great sounding room that we have had the pleasure of playing a couple times before. I’m also looking forward to my first live show appearance in quite a while in my hometown of Knoxville TN on August 1st at the Open Chord.

What else can we expect from you for the rest of 2020?
I have my first studio LP record Three Reasons that will be released everywhere on June 19th.

Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted to collaborate with you?

Do you play any instruments?
I grew up playing piano and drums and can still find my way around both to a certain degree, but my primary instrument is guitar.

Who are your musical influences?
I am influenced by many different artists and songwriters. There are far too many to name, but there are a few that I continually come back to. Some of the more widely known artists that fall in this category would be Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Mark Knopfler, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam and Levon Helm to name a few.

How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I get most of my inspiration from simply observing the people and places that are a part of my life. While many of my songs are very personal, I like to try to put myself in other folks’ shoes and write from that perspective too. Looking at my catalogue, I think this is when I am at my best.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
In five years, my wife and I will have three teenagers which is crazy to think about. I expect I will be spending as much time with them as I possibly can until they don’t want to hang out with me anymore! I hope I will be fortunate enough to still be creating new music and performing live with my band every chance I get.

When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I have a hard time sitting still, so you can usually find me working, exercising or doing odd jobs around the house. Our family enjoys the lake so we get on the water whenever we can. I am big baseball fan too and especially enjoy catching a live game.

What was a song you listened to that influenced you to go into the music scene?
I’m not sure I can name a single song that comes to mind that influenced me to get into music.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
When I met my wife, Sarah, we were living in Knoxville and I was attending the University of Tennessee. I was playing music about four to five nights a week and making pretty good money doing it. I was just about ready to drop out of school when she gave me some not-so-subtle advice – something along the lines of a “Plan B.” Turns out she was exactly right, as I ended up taking an extensive break from playing music shortly after we moved to Nashville in 2004. She’s always been supportive of my music, but she’s also the anchor that keeps me grounded.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians, not about the industry but just as an artist?
I am not sure how much my advice is worth, but I’d just encourage artists to stay authentic. There are so many artists whose music has impacted me in a major way, yet you will never hear them on mainstream radio, and they don’t have a million monthly Spotify listeners either. Just work hard and stay true to your own vision. Eventually, you’ll find your audience.

What quote or saying do you always stick by?
The Avett Brothers song, “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” has a line that says, “Decide what to be and go be it.” I love that song and that’s an awfully empowering line.

Where in your hometown is a must to go and visit?
I grew up in Knoxville, TN and love getting back home whenever I can. I’d tell folks to go downtown to Market Square, catch a show at the Bijou or the Tennessee Theatre, and drop by WDVX for a Blue Plate Special performance. The city has done an outstanding job with historic preservation and has a great music and arts community.

You’re coming off tour;
1. Where do you go first?
To my home in College Grove, TN.
2. Who do you see first? Usually our dog, Biscuit is the first one to greet me, but I’m always excited to see my wife and kids as soon as I can.
3. What do you eat first? Probably something involving peanut butter!

When you’re at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
I have forgotten my harmonicas a time or two and I am notorious for failing to bring a set list. Good news is that our bass player, Chris Adair, never fails to bring a few extra copies of the set list. I also try to make sure I remember to promote our social sites and upcoming gigs during our set. I have a tendency just to dive into the music and forget everything else once we get rolling.

Listen to Adeline here

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Yes, I do.

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