May 25, 2018
There are no surprises on Charlotte-based singer-songwriter Mike Ramsey’s latest EP, Colorado. Following in the footsteps of many great country-leaning singer-songwriters, these are straightforward tunes about nature, love, and life on the road. The instrumentation follows a simple paradigm: guitar laying the foundation of the songs, peppered with a variety of piano and violin notes. This timeless approach showcases Ramsey’s songwriting abilities and is the ideal backdrop for his style of music.
Released from his series of “May Morning Poems,” the songs are lyric-driven and show a young songwriter maturing his craft. After releasing his first EP, Between a View of the Name, Ramsey gained enough notoriety to open for larger names like Donna the Buffalo and Hiss Golden Messenger. After completing the series of poems, he went to Charlotte’s Old House Studios to record the six song collection, mixed by Jamie Mefford (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Gregory Alan Isakov).
The first track, “You and I and Colorado,” finds the artist experiencing some wanderlust. The instrumentation is simple and subdued, letting the vocals carry the tune unencumbered by superfluous embellishments.
“Lost in the World” centers around a metaphor of a star and moon taking the place of Ramsey and his love. There is distance between the two lovers, but they are destined to be together. Like much of the EP, it is a ballad, which seems to be one of Ramsey’s strengths. The following track, “Worries on the Moon” is one of the few tracks that let the electric guitar take the lead instead of acoustic. It may seem like a small contrast, but it’s a refreshing sonic kick in an otherwise candid album.
“Heart Lies Waiting” is another love song, and features a long, sustained organ throughout the track. There’s lots of space on this song, which allows for a long instrumental passage where the violin truly gets to shine. The background vocals are drenched in reverb giving it an ethereal sound.
The closing track “Built me a Boat” is a fitting ending to the EP, Colorado. Ramsey paints a broad picture with his lyrics, as a lonely violin carries the rest of the tune, until it fades into a 30 second outro of sweeping noises. It’s a striking conclusion, and leaves ample space for the audience to interpret the meaning.
Catch the EP release party Saturday, May 26 at the Neighborhood Theatre, supported by Aaron Burdett and Emily Sage.