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Mike Dekle - Tunesmith
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

"I consider myself a sensitive Southern storyteller who is extremely blessed to have been given a creative talent. Song writing is in my blood. I write because I’ll bust wide open if I don’t." Mike Dekle.

It’s all there on the cover. The cover of Mike Dekle’s latest release, that is. As the prolific writer of such tunes as “Scarlet Fever” for Kenny Rogers and “Joe’s Place” for Joe Nichols, he’s caught squarely in his own revealing metaphor.

There’s Mike bent over an anvil, guitar poised and armed with paper and pen; it’s an image captured in the title of his latest album, Tunesmith. And on this, his fourth album, the gifted writer and singer lives up fully to the title. I’m an unreserved fan, but that aside, here is a writer who not only mines the depths of human frailties, but can also as a counter balance offer light and humor.

When I interviewed Dekle sometime back I asked, what makes a good song? He said, “It must be emotional…whether with hilarity or seriousness.” Convincingly, he delivers both moods across these 14 tracks.

The album opens with “555-2109”, one of 7 tunes Dekle wrote with his collaborative mate, singer and renowned writer, Byron Hill. Hill is no slouch in the record royalty stakes, having written hits for, among many others, Alabama, Gary Allan, Tracy Byrd and George Jones; here he shows his versatility by doubling as album producer.

From “555-2109” a rockin’ road tale of a traveling husband, an at-home and keen wife, and a phone bill that keeps the love alive, Dekle masterly winds his way through the humorous, the touching and the revealing. Tracks like “Can You Love Me That Way” which records the lyrical truth of “good things come to those who wait” showcases the Dekle and Hill partnering as one of sensitive and shared values. The radio popular “Windows and Floors” is here. Telling of a guy, alone and lonely, it realizes too late that chores keep a house clean – and a sad mind active. The tune serves as a moody segue to “I’m Afraid of Losing You”. Other tunes making ideal use of Dekle’s easy-on-the-ear voice include “Who Cares”, “Since We Ain’t Had You” and the poignant “Nobody’s Child”.

“Nobody’s Child” streams the familiar with its tale of an orphaned kid, who through the kindness and love of strangers, makes his way, only to become “somebody’s child” today. In simple terms, it’s a sweet and touching tune. On another level, it shows the lyrical and melodic care Dekle brings to his craft.

“My sincere wish is that people simply enjoy my songs. When people are singing they are usually in a good mood. It's hard to sing when you're frowning. Songs make people smile”, says Dekle. 

And while Dekle rubs each tune here with a rich and weathered voice, it’s in his lyrics his true worth as a tunesmith comes through. Dekle is sharply observant to the forces and life circumstances that cross his path. On “Bikinis And Beer” the snapshot is of a holidaying husband camped beachside with his wrap around shades, Walmart chair and hidden behind his once-a-year book read, while ogling the sights. The tune is recognizable humor. And that’s a winning plus on any Dekle album – his energetic passion to involve us with the familiar. Take the tune “Normal Town”. Image-rich with a bar’s Bud sign missing the “e and i”, and the pinball machine bumped into play by a cursing cowboy, and a sight sorry jukebox playing “Friends In Low Places” for the umpteenth time. It comes to the mind’s eye as a crusty place that we’ve either known or visited.

And while Joe Nichols chart nudges upward with “Size Matters”, Dekle’s version, a tune he wrote with Byron Hill, is a worthwhile listen; so, too, is the lazy and harmonica-laced “A Party Ain’t A Party”. “About Me” and “She Keeps On Loving Me” bring the mood into focus with loving sentiment, while “Touchy Feely” visits the same places, only with a rockier feel. 

Mike Dekle, apart from his song writing which is continually grabbing chart placement, just may be one of the best undiscovered talents treading the boards today. His writing is vibrant and focused. He has bullseye aim when it comes to tapping into the moods, sadness and often the humor surrounding the examined life. If you don’t know of his work, do yourself a favor and check him out. The Athens, Georgia, tunesmith has an easy way of singing –a voice that’s not primed and pushed into a need-for-fame format; rather, his style is thoughtful, giving his picture perfect lyrics respect and meaning. What else can I say? I’m an unreserved fan. Get the album and you’ll hear why.

Tunesmith is out now on Parlay Records.

Tunesmith song list:

To purchase the CD online just click on the album cover on the left. 
1: 555-2109
2: Can You Love Me That Way
3: Windows & Floors
4:I’m Afraid Of Losing You
5: Size Matters
6: Who Cares
7: Bikinis &Beer
8: A Party Ain’t A Party 
9: Since We Ain’t Had You 
10: Nobody’s Child 
11: About Me 
12: Touchy Feely 
13: Normal Town 
14: She Keeps On Loving Me

Related Links:
www.MikeDekleMusic.com - Official Site

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