The Deal: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Strauss gathers up some other local talent for latest album, Ideal Road, independently released on April 17, 2010.
The Good: Strauss has a laid-back Springsteen/Dylan/Petty tone to his vocals that sits nicely over folk rock music that's complimented by the occasional horn or violin riff. He's not afraid to find a country side on the instrumental "Succotash," or lean a bit toward blues and even ragtime on "Everchanging Ideal Road." The album kicks off with the soulful, bluesy "Just Can't Quit" – balanced by keyboard hints and brief harmonies. The combination of talent in the band makes for easy-to-listen-to music that seems familiar, yet fresh. His band is rounded out on the disc by Randolph Lewis, Molly J. Brown, Beth Brown Al-Rawi, Donovan Collins, David Kim and Jon Schigoda.
The Bad: My only complaint is that the eight tracks here simply weren't enough ...
The Verdict: The saying is, "Always leave 'em wanting more," and Strauss accomplishes that. Another of the Charlotte music scene whose name should be familiar and whose talent should certainly be noticed.