The St. Louis area, huge as it is, isn’t really known for producing a lot of famous musicians, especially country musicians. Producer/guitarist T-Bone Burnett, blue-eyed soul singer Michael McDonald and the late John Hartford are from that area, but famous country singers of any persuasion, whether stone-cold or rockin’, are a rarity. Michael Lynne is planning to do something about that.
A native of the St. Louis area who has done what he can to get the city’s creative fires burning as both an artist and a club owner with his club the Hot Spot in High Ridge, a few miles southwest of St. Louis, Michael Lynne recently completed his second CD in Nashville, Tenn., backed by some of the city’s finest talent. Lynne has operated his club for more than a decade, but one of the main reasons reason for his ownership of the bar has been to have a place to perform with his own band. Now singer/songwriter/guitarist Lynne plans to perform the material from his new CD, Have a Little Fun, which he recorded with some of the biggest names in rock and country music.
Have a Little Fun, as well as his first CD, Don’t Let Go, was recorded at Nashville’s Dog Ear Studio with a group of musicians that have been in bands that, at one time or another, ruled the charts and the airwaves, just as Lynne aims to do. With onetime Bryan Adams, Bret Michaels and Blackhawk guitarist (and Dog Ear’s owner) Jamie Laritz, Cinderella bassist Eric Brittingham, Cowboy Crush fiddler Renae’ Truex and others, Michael Lynne has recorded two albums of completely self-written material that rivals some of the best, including the song “Here We Are,” which was on the Music Row charts for nearly a year and also entered the AC and independent country charts.
“It’s just been awesome,” Lynne said of recording in Nashville. “To play with someone like Eric Brittingham from Cinderella, who’s doing country with me and loving it, it’s just been an incredible experience.”
Michael Lynne has been playing music since he was a boy, performing in the likes of VFW lodges and wherever else he could get a gig. “I eventually had a circle of about 10 clubs I played in around the St. Louis area, up around Wentzville, several places we worked steady.” When asked who his greatest influences are, the first name that comes out of Lynne’s mouth is “Charlie Daniels. I still love Charlie Daniels,” he said. “Waylon, Johnny Cash, guys like that, but then I got into the ’80s bands too.” Lynne said that Lynyrd Skynyrd and Garth Brooks also played a role in the development of his performing and writing.
Nashville is known for co-writing, something Lynne has yet to do much of, though he may eventually collaborate with others in Guitar Town. “So far it’s just been easier to write my own stuff,” he said. “Strap on the guitar, get an idea and away I go.”
Lynne said that recording both CDs was a quick and natural process. “I played some of my stuff for Jamie and he liked what I was doing, so we went right into the studio,” he said. Laritz assembled an all-star cast of some of musicians that he knew would get the sound to best complement the artist’s voice and material.
Michael Lynne’s band back in High Ridge includes Bobby Grofe on guitar, Brian French on bass, Mandy Grofe on vocals, and Steve Underwood on drums. Lynne plans to take his show on the road, performing material from both CDs in Missouri and hopefully returning to Nashville to showcase his material, perhaps at one of the city’s singer/songwriter clubs or at one of the nightspots downtown on Lower Broadway. “I definitely want to get out there with it, want to get the music heard as much as I can.” Lynne has already hopped onstage with bands at the legendary Tootsie’s and at Paradise Park, where Truex performs regularly, to show his chops to the city.
To show their dedication to Lynne’s project, and to prove that they just weren’t out to make a buck, most of the members of the recording band have made the trip to High Ridge from Nashville to perform with Lynne at both of his CD release parties. “It’s awesome that they would do that,” he said, “and shows that they believe in me and what we did.”
He was able to get airplay with material from his first CD, but Michael Lynne plans to do even better with Have a Little Fun. The title track, already in rotation on NMGRadio.com, is also going to be released to radio nationwide. “The first CD was great,” he said, “but I’m pretty excited about this one as well.”
For more information about Have a Little Fun go to www.michaellynne.net, or find him on Facebook and CDBaby.com.
By Rick Moore