Mike Plume Shares his Everyman Anthems

Mike Plume | Lonesome Stretch of Highway | Royalty Records

Videos by American Songwriter

3.5 out of 5

Mike Plume is an ideal example of the divide that often exists between the U.S. and its northern neighbor Canada. Never mind that there’s only a negligible physical divide; it’s more about the musical disparity that exists between the two. For every Rush, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young that manages to filter south, there are bands like Blue Rodeo, Sloan and the Skydiggers that win the hearts of the folks at home but still find it hard to make any formidable dent in the American marketplace.

For his part, Plume has released no less than a dozen albums over the course of a 27 year career, and yet his latest, Lonesome Stretch of Highway (BandCamp him), is one of his best yet. Like his earlier efforts, it’s flush with homespun appeal, boasting a series of songs that share a personal perspective in an essential yet unassuming manner. A country troubadour by trade, he’s also an Everyman whose stories find a common bond with those folks who find joy in home and hearth. On songs such as “Way Down Yonder Is a Little Piece of Land,” “Perfume and Gasoline” and “The Sweet Passing of Time,” Plume finds that common connection and uses it to weave tales spawn from the simplest of circumstances. That attitude is summed up succinctly in the plaintive piano ballad “In God’s Hands Now,” which finds Plume ruminating ever so wisely on “the choices we are given, choices we make…” Indeed, those are crucial components in any life well lived. 

It’s not that Plume is constantly prone to find himself in a meditative mood. Its name aside, Lonely Stretch of Highway is by and large a celebratory set of songs, veering from the unassuming sway of “I’m Your Huckleberry” and “Remember to Forget,” to upbeat anthems such as “Summers Around Here (Don’t Last Forever),” “It’s a Long Long Way” and “Younger Than We Are Today,” the latter of which could find a perfect fit in any Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band concert  set. These are rallying cries for turbulent times, yet given their optimism and exuberance, they encourage a listener’s spirit to soar regardless.

Hopefully then,  Lonely Stretch of Highway will prove to be a well traveled expanse after all. As Plume proves, when the destination is uncertain, the journey can still be satisfying all the same.

Photo by Michael Anderson

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