The Eastern Shore’s own Mike Stinson has released a new album collaborating with Troubadour Rocker, Johnny Irion.
According to an article in Glide Magainze, the new album, “25 years in the making,” almost sounds like some kind of an exaggerated tale of two hombres looking to catch some musical sympathy. But for Stinson and Irion, these two troubadours would never stretch a tale to get listens- in fact, they’ve jointly worked harder than almost anyone in the Americana/Country scene.
Along with a slew of “Best of” awards, Stinson has earned the most revered of awards and that is of the mutual admiration society, as his songs have been released on albums by Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Gilkyson, Jesse Dayton, Brian Whelan, Folk Uke (featuring Willie Nelson), Austin Hanks and Larry Bagby.
Irion once the frontman for NC ’90s rockers, Queen Sarah Saturday, has performed and collaborated with icons such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, and Jeff Bridges while releasing an adored output with his former wife Sarah Lee Guthrie that included 2013’s Wassaic Way produced by Jeff Tweedy. In 2018 Johnny released his acclaimed solo album “Driving Friend” produced by Tim Bluhm and features members of Wilco and Dawes.
Back in the 90s Stinson and Irion, along with Andy Butler-Jones, began working on songs that bore to resemble something harmonically fruitful in the vein of The Jayhawks. Stinson and Irion kept in touch and now, twenty-five years later (following the death of Butler-Jones in 2011), they’ve finally made the record they always wanted to make – Working My Way Down– out March 24th, on blackwing Music; the same company that makes the world’s greatest pencil.
Stinson and Irion recorded Working My Way Down to analog tape on Johnny’s Studer in the rolling hills of Berkshire MA — mixed by Johnny’s neighbor Paul Koldiere (Radiohead, Morphine, Hole) and featuring guest appearances by members of Chatham County Line, Social Distortion, and Andy’s longtime Big Elf bandmate Damon Fox who now plays with The Cult.
Glide is premiering the title track “Working My Way Down” a courageous rocker that fills our ears with a sly and soulful delivery reminiscent of early Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and the rockin abandon of Drivin N Cryin. From the bleeding guitar tones to the rich production, Stinson and Irion exemplify heartfelt rockin’ Americana, one that has fallen the wayside in recent times.
“The title track ‘Working My Way Down’ was written by Andy Jones, the secret weapon in the late ’90s in Mike and Johnny band,” says Stinson. His untimely death in 2011 meant these songs he’d written for us would be lost to history had we not recorded them. Honoring his memory and legacy was the catalyst for this record being made. I’ve often thought the song was a confession to his fiancé about his predicament and what she was getting into but we will never know.”