MIKE TRAMP – Stray From The Flock (2019)
Former White Lion singer MIKE TRAMP will release his new solo album “Stray From The Flock” next March 1. Recorded at Ark Studio in Denmark and mixed in Sweden by Peter Masson, on “Stray From The Flock” Tramp stay true both to the timeless melodic rock and roots of rock ‘n’ roll he’s known for, a record that won’t disappoint fans of previous releases from the Danish singer / songwriter.
The gentle guitar and strings that lead the listener into ‘No End to War’ and the sharper guitar that cuts in before the vocal will already have you smiling. Indeed the opening track to Mike Tramp’s new album ‘Stray From The Flock’ is just what the doctor ordered. Lyrically its compelling and musically it enfolds you like soft warms arms, comforting and assured. In some way, the song instantly transports me to White Lion’s ‘When The Children Cry’, not meaning to compare but that spirit and sadness is still there, quite stirring.
‘Dead End Ride’ is just as smooth, similarly and effortlessly lush and melodic, and has all the Tramp hallmarks that have seen him produce a slew of great albums since striking out in 1997 with Capricorn a dizzying 22 years ago now.
‘Homesick’ is the most melancholy song on the CD and as fans will know Mike is very capable of tugging at those heart-stings like no one else, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and with references to Kiss and the start of it all, it’s again another personal and heartfelt lyric that leads you all the way to middle age and grey beards and coming to terms with life’s journey. And with “you wake up right before you hit the wall” providing another memorable chorus you can’t go wrong.
We have a fab foot-stomping intro for ‘You Ain’t Free No More’ strap on your six string and boogie my friends. There’s something very Tom Kiefer about this song.
‘No Closure’ starts off with an almost Foreigner-like opening and drifts into Tramp’s winning demi-ballad style which twists and wrings with emotion a he speaks to his father.
‘You Ain’t Free Anymore’ sees Tramp lay down a chunky riff and get all defiant with his home truths, then ‘One Last Mission’ amps things up again, a brooding rocker, and it’s fair to say that one of the great features of “Stray From the Flock” is the balance between the rockers and the slower numbers that seems to be just right.
‘Live it Out’ like some of Tramp’s recent offerings has those wonderful shades of Tom Petty about it and it’s a style that fits more than comfortably with his vocal. It might even be one of the best here.
If you’re looking for something smokier and moodier then the brooding ‘Messiah’ might be the pick for you.It opens up with a wonderful instrumental passage before the vocals sweep in and Tramp ponders one of the biggest questions life throws at you.
“If we got pushed, you bet we pushed right back” from “Best Days of My Life” highlights childhood memories, something most of us still treasure as we look back on how things were for us and how children are now.
All too soon though the ride is at an end. Closing track, the haunting ‘Die With a Smile on Your Face’ has a mournful background click that sounds like the ticking of time, and low, slow keys before the vocal kicks in. It’s a slow almost Country Waltz that sees Tramp’s vocal shadowed by an unaccredited female vocal. It ends with the tolling of bells.
It’s an interesting way to close, more downbeat than you might expect, and not your typical Tramp fare but it makes a nice close to this mature album.
Straying not too far from the flock that is Rock n’ Roll, this delightful record is rooted in the grit and blue-collar honesty of a humble life, of a proud and valiant people that were grateful for what they had, no matter how little, and who weren’t shy of a day’s work.
Indeed “Stray From The Flock” (solo album number 11) sees Mike step into that wonderful land where he seems to have found the percent balance between the echoes of the past and his more ‘stripped back’ recent outings.
This is an album that feels comfortable and honest, effortless and free-flowing. It’s a recording that isn’t under any pressure to be anything other than ‘Mike Tramp’ and isn’t afraid to take what he’s learnt on every part of that journey.
Mike Tramp in 2019 is bolder and stronger than ever. Highly Recommended
01. No End To War
02. Dead End Ride
04. You Ain’t Free No More
05. No Closure
06. One Last Mission
07. Live It Out
09. Best Days Of My Life
10. Die With A Smile On Your Face
Mike Tramp: Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Claus Langeskov: Bass, Keyboards
Kenni Andy: Drums & Percussion
Henrik Berger: Guitar – 4 & 7
Marcus Nand: Guitar – 1 & 10
Oliver Steffensen: Guitar – 3 & 5
Soren Andersen: Guitar – 2 & 8
Kenny Korade: Guitar – 9
Morten Buchholz: Hammond Organ & Piano
Emily Garriock Langeskov: Backing Vocals