Knoxville (US) artist, Mike Snodgrass, has recently released his latest single, Always Be Mine, and for fans of Americana and soul, this is a superb crossover track.

The thing that appealed to us in particular was that this is a song that speaks of the bond between a child and their step-parent. There are so many “typical” family values songs out there – especially in the country/Americana genre that this change of perspective, and one from a very heartfelt standpoint, is a refreshing change. The line “I wanna take the step out and leave you with no doubt” left us with our hearts in our throats.

The bass line is busy and gives the song a 16 beat feel, whilst the drums give a steady 4 feeling to the track. We loved the use of the bell ride in the choruses – most artists will reach for a tambourine to differentiate the chorus so this, too, was refreshing.

Mike’s voice has a great country “twang” to it with just enough of a growl in all the right places to make it feel a little more bluesy. There’s a real passion in the vocal performance and you can hear that he means every word.

The use of stops into the chorus works well and helps maintain interest in the song, and whilst this is a familiar chord sequence, the song easily kept us attentive for several listens.

The harmonica playing in this track is absolutely world class. Snodgrass manages to achieve a level way beyond your standard blues or country musicianship. Very much reminding us of John Popper (Blues Traveller) the harmonica in Always Be Mine is astounding.

From a production perspective, the mix here is great; we love the rhythms and instrumentation very much. To our ears it could use a little low end boost centred around 120Hz to bring out that well-played bass line. A couple of small dips at around 250Hz and again at around 400Hz would reduce the occasional muddy and boxy tone. The track is very bright sounding but could however use a small dip around 5-6kHz as there may be a little too much character in that area to our ears. Finally, a light compressor / limiter and around 5dB of make up gain would add some extra warmth to the track as well as bringing the volume more in line with other similar releases.

For fans of Blues Traveller and Dave Matthews band, this track is an absolute must! Mike Snodgrass (and his band) have created a funky soul track with country and Americana influences that will undoubtedly win them many new fans. Great stuff!