Mike Thomas Diamonds

By Brian Rock

Tennessee native Mike Thomas assesses family versus finances on his sophomore album, Diamonds. Thomas weaves his stories of holding onto love and chasing after dreams with strands of country, honky tonk, bluegrass, and heartland folk-rock. Part Clint Black and part John Mellencamp, Mike Thomas celebrates the riches of family in richly textured Americana tones.

“Room On The Dance Floor,” showcases Thomas’ masterful blend of genres. Folk guitar, rock piano, country pedal steel and even a touch of accordion create a wonderfully rich musical tapestry. Against this backdrop he sings, “I don’t go to parties, I don’t run with the crowd. I’m a workin’ man with family now.” Like Tom Russell’s “The Pugilist at 59,” Thomas contrasts who he is now with who he used to be. In his youth, he chased his dreams of stardom until, “While I was out in the country singin’ those blues, somebody else slipped on my dancin’ shoes.” In his quest for fame he, “turned my back and I left the dance ‘til I got that call for a second chance.” Realizing some things are more important than fame, Thomas heeds love’s call and returns home to start a family. Ending with the cryptic line, “But every now and then I get to wonderin’;” he hints that maybe there’s a part of him that still covets the fame and fortune of musical stardom.

“Breaking The Distance,” rewinds Thomas’ story a few years. A John Mellencamp inspired folk rocker; electric guitar and Hammond organ capture the energy of first starting off in pursuit of your dreams. But even in the excitement of the moment, there are seeds of discontent when, “Your baby’s at home. She’s fast asleep by now. You long to be with her, you just can’t see how.” “In Your Arms Again,” is a rollicking, Marty Stuart style honky-tonker that expresses his yearning to be back home in the arms of his wife.  The energy subsides on the country ballad, “Before We Say Goodnight.” Feeling the strain of playing night after night without breaking the big time, Thomas recalls his bandmates and sings, “I love ‘em like brothers and I know they feel the same. Ain’t no fame, glory or money, but they stand beside me anyway.” The toll of life on the road hits home as well on, “Trying Ain’t Enough.” Another heartland folk rock anthem, the song finds Thomas caught in a role reversal as his wife is out late and his baby daughter asks when she’s comin’ home. 

Thomas finally finds clarity on the Country ballad, “When The House Is Flush.” Acknowledging, “The ballgame and the ballet last Friday – I’ve lost count of all the milestones I’ve missed;” he realizes what is most important in his life. Singing, “When the house is flush, the chips no longer matter. I’ll be going all in on us;” he finally makes the commitment to put family first.

Following his father’s example on “Daddy’s Blue Collar,” Thomas embarks on his new journey as a family man. Lilting bluegrass rhythms and lively fiddle pay fitting tribute to his dad. Singing, “We were livin’ well, ‘cause he was livin’ right,” Thomas follows in the steps of his role model. “Out Back,” is a more somber, acoustic tribute to his father and his tireless work ethic. Working with his hands like his father before him, Thomas never strikes gold, but he comes to realize the abundant riches around him. The steel guitar infused country of “Diamonds” finds Thomas counting his blessings as he sings, “A red-haired girl, a blue-eyed boy, steady reminders of the gift of joy. Young ones now tuggin’ at my heals, this must be how a rich man feels.” Giving up his dreams to help his family’s dreams come true, Thomas now finds himself with something worthy to sing about. A stirring love letter to his family and the family that came before him, Diamonds is a jewel of an Americana album and a poetic reminder for all of us to cling a little tighter to the ones we love.  |   fb   |   buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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