Mike Felten (from the album Diamonds and Televisions)
Soaking up music for several decades as a player and record store owner has given Mike Felten the ability to be a musical chameleon as he shuffles between genres on his recent release, Diamonds and Televisions. Mike opens the album on a rock’n’roll rattle as he digs in with chords chops and sinewy guitar leads in “It All Ends Here”. Diamonds and Televisions follows a weaving trumpet as it surrounds the story of a working man in “Seven Days a Week”, falls into the trance of pounding drumbeats to become “Pa Kettle’s Bastard Son”, builds “Emma’s House” with sparkling notes from guitar and keyboards, and steps into Soul with horn lines and honky tonk piano riffs in “Bohunk’s Daughter”.
Being immersed in sounds for thirty years as a record store owner in his native Chicago, Illinois has allowed to find Mike Felten to find his own muse. The songs on Diamonds and Televisions have a familiarity while remaining comfortably in an alien audio territory. Mike Felten recalls that ‘Victor Sanders, my guitarist and recording engineer on this album, called it ‘Outsider Americana’. I’ve had so many influences. I’ve played in country bands. I’ve played in cover bands. I’ve played in blues bands and rock bands. Where does it fit? I don’t know. In my sets now, I play Muddy Waters and Buck Owens and Smokey Robinson, and it doesn’t sound like any of those people’. Mike Felten stares at the lukewarm memories as he stirs “Gas Station Coffee” with a Folk Rock soundtrack, lassos a western swing to ride through “Get Lost”, and seeks some mercy for “Old Dogs and Fools” as Diamonds and Televisions sets the mood for closing time noir with the back alley Jazz requiem of “Mike’s Last Will and Testament”.