MARKETING AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY
The Buzz ...
“ ‘Wish I Didn't Like Whiskey’—the lyrics are fantastic and the singer's voice is nice and fits well with the song. The song makes country music feel alive again. This is what country music has been missing and this guy is bringing it back.” —Renaldo 6, Song Critic.com
“’There’s a deep, dark dungeon/In the bottom of the glass.’ Hank Williams, Sr. couldn’t have said it any more whiskeyfied than singer-songwriter Mike Cullison in ‘Whiskey Memory,’ one of six original tracks on his new EP, ‘Roadhouse Rambler.’ Growing up in Oklahoma, and now living in Nashville, the artist has a hand in penning every honky-tonker and blues-a-billy tune here, recounting stories of did-her-wrong woes, did-me-wrong women, and bars. Blues musician Mark Robinson produced the record, and raises the cool factor in the room with his tasty guitar licks and tremolo vibes. On ‘Drinkin’ Songs,’ Cullison conjures up the spirit of Hank on a bed of sorrowful steel guitar with an ache and a twang in his ‘everyman’ delivery, and is reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam on the traditional ‘Blue Neon Heartache,’ where he confesses: ‘She left me with a blue neon heartache/I’m having me a few, drown in my mistakes/I knew her heart would bend/I never dreamed it would break.’” —Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville
“Fans of classic country music will feel right at home with Mike Cullison and, unless the hint of a honky-tonk brings you out in hives, I think you'll find ‘Roadhouse Rambler’ very amiable company. ” —John Davy, Flyinshoes Review (UK)
"What a GREAT honky tonk music album"!!!! —Hillbilly Rockhouse (Germany)
"Country music like it used to be and you know he's not far wrong." —R2 Magazine (UK)
“The Songs on ‘Blue Collar Tired’ keep on the theme and keep the glasses full. The topics travel between the bar and loving arms that stay true, stay a little too out of reach. The song titles tell the story, ‘Pour Hank on the Pain,’ ‘More Of The Same,’ ‘Break My Fall,’ don't hide secret messages. Mike has a way to telling a real tale and keeping your attention with the truth, hard-driving rhythms and country sways.” —The Alternate Root Magazine
“’Blue Collar Tired’ is one of the best traditional country CDs I've heard in a while.” —John Harring, Nashville Independent Music
“With honest lyrics and enjoyable vocals, Mike Cullison spans the Americana genre of blues, rock-a-billy, and classic country. Mike Cullison brings to the table a love of honky tonk music and a general good time. ” —Singer Magazine
“A captivating blues rocker enthralling audiences with soulful roadhouse songwriting.” —Simon Hallett, Totnes FM (UK)
“A singer/songwriter not to be missed when he’s in your area.” —Tony Pankhurst, Country Music Presenter on Skyline Gold Radio (UK)
“Mike Cullison lives this music. That’s why it works a treat for real country fans. This is the real thing. Country music like it’s meant to be. You can’t get better than that!” —Ken MacLeod, Tay AM, Dundee, Scotland
“My dad only liked country music and only a few artists were ever deemed worthy to go into his small collection. He had two albums by Johnny Cash, two by Hank Williams, one Faron Young, one Ernest Tubb and a Tex Ritter. I think he very well might have bought a Mike Cullison record, but that record would not appear until now, fifty years too late for my dad's classic collection, but just in time for you to start building yours.” —Randy Handley, Musician / Singer-Songwriter (Garth Brooks, John Mellencamp, John Denver)
"His vocals reflect the spirit of an American poet whose roots extend from the raw Country of the Hank Williams/Carl Smith era to the Sun sound of Memphis to the sweet, sweat-soaked Soul of the Stax studio and is always encased in a deep agreeable groove." —Davis Raines, Singer-Songwriter (Kenny Rogers, Pam Tillis, Walt Wilkins)
EP Release Show last fall was a big success - thanks for coming out! LISTEN to "Roadhouse Rambler" here
Mike Cullison and Band • "Roadhouse Rambler"
Joining Mike Cullison for this show will be Mark Robinson on guitar, Dan Seymour on bass, Justin Amaral on drums, and Randy Handley on keyboards. The band will rock the house, playing Mike's songs not only from the new EP, but also great cuts such as the barroom anthem "Wish I Didn't Like Whiskey" from Mike's last CD "Blue-Collar Tired," and the honky-tonker's lament "Blue Neon Heartache" off of "Roadhouse Rambler."
"The songs on 'Roadhouse Rambler' are straight out of that back-road country joint where the bikers in the audience would kick your ass if you didn't play Hank Jr.—and the owner would fire your ass if you didn't play Hank Sr.," says Mike, only half joking.
THE STORY BEHIND THE EP:
"In the middle of the production work on my upcoming project--well, make that my upcoming passion--'Barstool Monologues,' a promoter in Scotland contacted me about bookings and asked if I had a new CD to tie to the tour. When I told him about Barstool Monologues [more on that coming soon] project, but that it wouldn't be done until next year, he encouraged me to to put together a CD especially for the European market. So, as long as we were in the studio, I say, heck yes, let's do it! 'Roadhouse Rambler' was born. And it's just too good not to release it here in the States, too. Why let the Europeans have all the fun?" " —Mike Cullison
"ROADHOUSE RAMBLER" AVAILABLE AT CDBABY & ITUNES
SONGS: Blue Neon Heartache (Cullison/Rakes) 2:51 Whiskey Memory (Cullison/Neel) 4:02 Walkin' Sam (Cullison) 3:50 Drinkin' Songs (Cullison) 3:54 Red-Headed Woman (Cullison/Robinson) 4:59 Who Turned You Loose (Cullison/Jones) 3:29
Producer Mark Robinson • Associate Producer Daniel Seymour • Tracking Engineer Jim Burnett • Additional Engineering Mark Robinson & Daniel Seymour • Mastered by Paul Mahern • Recorded at Guido’s South Studios
Vocals Mike Cullison • Drums and Percussion Justin Amaral • Bass, Acoustic Guitar and Mandolin Daniel Seymour • Electric Guitar and Dobro Mark Robinson • Keyboards Randy Handley • Fiddle Jeremy Garrett • Steel Guitar Mike Daly • Accordion Mike Webb • Harmonica Ben Graves • Vest Frottoir (Washboard) Brain Langlinais
MORE MUSIC FROM MIKE CULLISON ... and be sure to visit Mike's site: CullisonMusic.com
"The Grapes of Wrath Are Ripe Again," a song that is a powerful, modern-day Dust Bowl tale from Oklahoma native Mike Cullison, has been:
• Included on the Acoustic Rainbow Sampler Vol. 33
Listen to the tracks and more: TheRoadhouseRambler.com
The story of Mike Cullison and his music brings to mind a sculptor named J. Seward Johnson Jr. who turns famous Impressionist paintings into life-sized, three-dimensional tableaux, incorporating not only the original images, but his own fanciful imaginings of what went on beyond the canvas.
With Barstool Monologues, Nashville singer-songwriter Mike Cullison takes a similar approach, weaving lives into songs, then threading them together with spoken-word narrative to create a vivid musical tableau. There’s the heartbroken lover, the fracturing couple, the other woman, the lonely imbiber ... each introduced by a bartender named Hollis, who sees and hears it all. Various singers inhabit their personas, spinning musical novellas into what Cullison likes to describe as “a honky-tonk Canterbury Tales.”
“It’s as if you walked into a place and you took a snapshot and everybody’s lookin’ in the camera,” says Cullison. “What I wanted to do was place everybody in that picture into one of the songs, either as its subject or the person singing it to somebody else.”
Oklahoma native Cullison, who’s honed his songwriting skills with such royalty as Don Goodman (“Ol’ Red”), Johnny Neel (the Allman Brothers) and Mike Stergis (Crosby, Stills & Nash), describes his style as “roadhouse blues and country roots-rock.” But his influences are as vast as the early rock ‘n’ roll his mom adored and the classic country his dad preferred, and he draws deeply from that well, along with other Americana styles — from Bakersfield to hybrid zyde-Cajun blues — to create a rich aural tapestry as colorful as Johnson’s art.
He considers himself a lyric writer first, however. “The story and how it is told are very important to me,” Cullison says. “Some songs come at you very quickly, but most take time. There’s still a lot of polishing to do even after the lightning bolts strike.”
Cullison’s career has taken time, too. In fact, the release party for his first album, 2004’s BAC (Big American Car), was also his retirement party after 32 years with the Bell Telephone Co. Somewhere along the way, he had moved to Atlanta “because it was five hours closer to Nashville.” His ultimate goal was always Music City, “because that’s where the writers were.”
He finally made it in 1995. Throughout his day-job years, he always wrote and performed; in Atlanta, he was in a band called Lone Walter. These days, he appears solo or with a variety of friends and collaborators in the states and Europe, where he first released the EP Roadhouse Rambler in 2011. (His second CD, Blue Collar Tired, came out in 2007.)
Like most musicians, Cullison spends his share of time in bars. And like most country-influenced players, he’s sung his share of “tears in beer” tunes. But one night, while performing at the late Nashville bar the Sutler (lost, sadly, to developers), a thought struck: “Instead of having somebody sitting on the customer’s side of the bar crying in their beer, what if we turned it around?”
That was the genesis of the Mark Robinson-produced Barstool Monologues.
“Songwriting is storytelling, so it kind of fit for me,” says Cullison, who also has plenty of “behind the song” stories. One of his favorites involves the opening tune, “Wish I Didn’t Like Whiskey” — a perfect choice to open an album set in a bar.
“I had bought a drink for a friend of mine,” Cullison relates, “and as I handed her the glass, she said, ‘I wish I didn’t like whiskey so much.’ I excused myself for a minute while I wrote that on a coaster. Turned out to be a very good song.”
They’ve all turned out to be very good songs — vignettes, actually, sung and performed by some of Nashville’s finest. If Cullison has his way, Barstool Monologues might even turn into a musical of some sort, with actors and stage sets. Life-sized, like a Johnson tableau. Only even more real, because we can recognize the characters in Cullison’s stories. They’re our friends, our exes … or maybe even ourselves.
The Barstool Monologues
by Mike Cullison and The Regulars
Each song is introduced with a short track from Hollis (Mike Cullison), the bartender-proprietor of The Oasis.
1 Hollis 2 Wish I Didn’t Like Whiskey / Mike Cullison* (4:03)
3 Hollis 4 As the Cold Sets In / Tiffany Huggins Grant (3:16)
5 Hollis 6 Prayin’ for Rain / Jon Byrd (3:43)
7 Hollis 8 Who Turned You Loose / Brian Langlinais (3:31)
9 Hollis 10 Til I See Her with Him / Davis Raines (3:26)
11 Hollis 12 Good and Evil / Mark Robinson (3:14)
13 Hollis 14 Ghost of My Heart / Natalie Langlinais (4:17)
15 Hollis 16 I Can’t Let You Drink Alone / Randy Handley (3:21)
17 Hollis 18 Just Another Night / Travis Lamb (3:58)
19 Hollis 20 Barstool Monologue / Mike Cullison (4:36)
*The artist (“Regular”) who performs the song.
To preview the tracks: TheRoadhouseRambler.com
Mike with his band (Mark Robinson on guitar, Jon Radford on drums, and Kenny Owens on bass) performing live at Billy Block's Sunday radio show from the legendary Tootsie's Honky Tonk on Lower Broadway, Nashville.
Mike Cullison was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He attended Robert E. Lee Grade School and Shawnee Junior. High before moving to Midwest City, graduating from high school there in 1968. Today his brother Andy lives in Oklahoma City, he has many relatives still around the Shawnee area. Mike is a member of the First Families Twin Territories--his grandparents settled in Oklahoma before statehood.
From the Oklahoma-Texas area to Atlanta to Nashville and stints in Europe, Mike's musical journey has been an extraordinary one. Mike’s innate writing skills and love of music merged early on. He grew up on Country & Western and Honky Tonk, then moved into a diverse blend of music as a young man in the '60s. Some of his many influences are The Beatles, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffett, Delbert McClinton, and all the great story-tellers of years gone by.