Mike Dekle - Tributes
Review By: George
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
barrooms where the lights are always dim, people telling me to
sing my songs again, I see overrun ashtrays and overturned beer,
but I know what they’re wanting to hear…I’d be lost without
music, lost in the dark, take away my songs and you might as
well just take my heart… “–Tributes (Mike Dekle) “Lost Without
Mike Dekle has to be one of the most
radio-overlooked acts in country music. Not that he has cause
for sleepless nights and worry. His bank balance grows nicely
thank you from a steady stream of royalty checks. He’s penned
and co written for the best of them – Tracy Byrd, Kenny Rogers,
Joe Nichols and John Berry among others. All proof, if needed,
that this Georgia-based singer and songwriter knows how to
deliver the goods. Now on the shelves with his fifth album,
Tributes (Parlay Records), the 14 mainly co written tracks
show, again, just what modern radio is missing.
Dekle, if you are looking for an
image, is more Tom T. Hall than Toby Keith; he is more about the
song than the image; he’s a rich, mellow and narrative driven
lyricist, one who obviously thinks deeply before the ink hits
the chord sheet. In his world, one would suspect, there are no
dedicated PR people rushing him to TV shoots, fluffing out the
cowboy shirt and waiting to chauffer him to the next Meet and
Greet. Dekle comes laid back, easy in the knowledge that his
words, his songs, are his public image; the rest is the staple
of wannabees with something to prove.
And, in the case of this singer who
honed his craft by singing in coffee houses in the early
sixties, there’s nothing to prove. The guy has a clear and
melodic timbre in his voice. He sings and shares understood
meanings that touch us all. His writing is concise, picture
perfect insights to life, love, family, and the tapestry that
When he sings of the plight of the
blue-collar worker (“Ballad Of The Working Man”), his viewpoint
isn’t squinted or lame. With crafted skill he nods with due and
universal regard: The worker is the backbone to overall
prosperity, often wrestling odds and circumstances that tax in
more ways than the obvious.
All good writers have their
influences. Mike Dekle honors a legend on “Ode To Bob Dylan”.
The homage is complete with an easy harmonica as a backdrop on a
tune hailing Mr Tamborine Man as one of the best, if not
greatest, songwriters of modern times.
While music might be a pervasive
interest, “Miss Jones” was more than a passing infatuation to
young Mike Dekle. The song, simple and direct, powers with its
message that respects the presence and quality of our teachers.
“Them Boys”, likewise, is a view prodding the memory. Telling of
the characteristic behavior of boys in groups, the tune is a
flashback to how we were – and how lucky we were that we never
Just like “Rub –A –Bubba – a sneer
of sorts to the grooming of the modern male -- to the word play
of “Norma Lee (Normally), to the honest hurt of “Heartache Can
Swim”, a tale proving a stiff drink doesn’t ease pain, Dekle
crafts words, melodies and emotion that stamp this album as
nothing less than, as one of the tunes suggests, a keeper
(That’s A Keeper”).
This is quality. This is astute and
keen songwriting. This album deserves hearing. It’s an album
that shines in the glow of a notable tunesmith, someone who
doesn’t hammer the tunes into some Top 40 gone and forgotten
hit, rather the work is timely, honest and value driven.
On an album where every track is a
standout, the tune enjoying my most plays is “The Old Man”.
Again, simplicity and substance make the best music. The ballad
laments over the actions of a father, one who is not smart
enough, wise enough to know what is right and needed in the life
of a 17-year -old kid. The tune ends with what most of us
eventually learn –that is, as we get older, our parents get
The album is out now.
As a fitting tribute to the aptly
named album, I rate this two thumbs up. Get it and find out just
what modern radio is missing.