-LAST FOOL AT THE BAR
1. Last Fool At The Bar (click to listen)
2. Six Pack Of Lonely
3. Can't Go Out Anymore
4. Another Day Without You
5. Tomorrow's Gonna Hurt
6. Stranger Here Myself
7. Cross Your Mind
8. City Girl
9. Home In Angeleno - duet with Tony Gilkyson
10. Take Out The Trash (click to Listen)
11. I Got Your Message
12. Counting My Lucky Stars (click to listen)
|photo by Randee St. Nicholas, design by Charlie McGovern
|'Last Fool At The Bar'
with Tony Gilkyson, Jimmy Ashhurst and Don Heffington.
Special appearances by
Joshua Grange and Chris Lawrence & Derek Ritchie.
|Looking for a hit
Mike Stinson, Nashville and an eight-minute bottle of wine
By William Michael Smith
Article Published Oct 12, 2006
Singer/songwriter Mike Stinson counts Dwight Yoakam and Billy Bob Thornton among his fans.Mike Stinson,
whose song "The Late Great Golden State" was recorded by Dwight Yoakam, is the kind of act Nashville record
execs and publishers usually run away from. Songs like "Last Fool at the Bar" hardly appeal to the glammed-up
CMT crowd. But when we caught up with LA's king of neo-honky tonk, he'd just left Nashville, where he'd been
pitching songs and looking for a hit. It seems to have gone pretty well.
Houston Press: How was Nashville during your recent visit?
Mike Stinson: There's such a culture of co-writing. Everywhere I went people were talking about writing
appointments. That's a phrase I don't think I've ever heard in California. I see how it can multiply the number of
people that might hear your song...I just wonder how to make sure I'll be inspired at noon on Tuesday.
HP: Besides Dwight Yoakam, who else has covered your songs?
Stinson: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Gilkyson and Austin Hanks. Tony's version of "Worthless" is my favorite. It's so
much better than my own. He treated it like a classic country song. I gave some of my songs to Ray Price
recently, and I put that one first.
HP: You and your friend, recording engineer Charlie McGovern, both world-class drinkers, spent some time in
Billy Bob Thornton's Beverly Hills kitchen recently. What was that like?
Stinson: Looking for beer and not finding any. I finally broke down and drank a bottle of his wine in about eight
minutes. I hope it wasn't expensive. He's a really cool, hysterically funny dude. He invited us over to hear his
version of "Late Great Golden State." Charlie and I hung out with him and Dwight until about 5 a.m. I've always
been more comfortable around night people.
HP: The production on your records has been pretty minimalist -- someone described them as "no budget." What
is the plan for your next record?
Stinson: We may not have fancy gear, but I think my records have a lot of charm [that is] missing from most of the
million-dollar productions I'm hearing these days. I don't know when I'll make my next record, but I've got a batch
of songs ready that I'll put up against anybody else's. Damn, I'm starting to sound like Robert Earl Keen. Kill me
HP: Here's a favorite Houston Press interview question: Football or foosball?
Stinson: Football. I'm from Virginia and...I got to go see my Redskins beat Jacksonville in overtime at FedEx Field.
The excitement in that crowd made rock shows I've seen lately feel like funerals. Foosball can be fun, too,
sometimes when mixed with alcohol. Do not attempt sober.
Two years ago I called Mike Stinson “the uncrowned King of the L.A. Neo-Honky Tonkers.” Last Fool at the Bar is
the latest diadem in Mike’s still-unclaimed headgear. All the hallmarks of the style that’s attracted a devoted cadre
of fans are on display here: a keen eye, an open heart, plentiful wit, equally plentiful grit, and a classicist’s sense
of what constitutes a perfectly penned country song.
The music has drawn enthusiasts like Dwight Yoakam and Billy Bob Thornton, who have both covered Mike’s
material. But nobody sings a Mike Stinson song like Mike Stinson, and nobody plays one as well as Mike’s superb
band, which features guitarist Tony Gilkyson, a gunslinger at the top of his game.
Last Fool at the Bar is another magnificent chapter in the career of one of the City of Angels’ most gifted singer-
songwriters. Crack open a tall one and listen up.
Chris Morris, The Hollywood Reporter, July 2005
Virginia-born, California-based country singer Mike Stinson writes songs with a sharp honky-tonk pulp pathology
that carries both oracular truth and face-down-on-the-beer-joint-floor degeneration. It’s a potent, straightforward
approach, one put across with an idiosyncratic vocal style (out of the Ernest Ashworth hillbilly-geek school) that’s
as distinctive as it is effective. With a thoroughly bitchen new album, Last Fool at the Bar, and the outstanding
guitar of Tony Gilkyson (who works an elegant Strangers-era James Burton bag), Stinson is demonstrating a
vibrant capability and natural-fact gravitas on a scale grand enough to qualify him as Hollywood’s most relevant
and engaging country force. (Jonny Whiteside)
Jonny Whiteside, LA WEEKLY September 2005
‘Jack Of All Heartache’
“I ain’t old but I’m out of date”, Mike Stinson sings on his debut record, ‘Jack Of All Heartache”. Well Mike, you ain’t exactly a
spring chicken and your songs are right up there with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver
and Harlan Howard, I wouldn’t say, “out of date”, I would say, “timeless”.
Mike Stinson has been known only as a drummer for far too long. It’s nice to see him banging on an old Gibson acoustic guitar
and singing his songs, while letting a fine bunch of fellows back him up. Tony Gilkyson’s lead guitar is to Mike Stinson as Roy
Nichols is to Merle Haggard or Luther Perkins to Johnny Cash. Don Heffington’s subtle playing could only come from a lifetime
of drumming for everyone, including some of Mike’s influences like Bob Dylan or Emmylou Harris. Kip Boardman’s bass and
piano are understated to the point of genius. All these guys are pals and can share a laugh or two, you can tell.
Mike’s lyrics are at the same time sentimental or hilarious depending on where you are in life and whether or not you can laugh at
yourself. In his song “I Can’t Call Virginia” he sings of only having enough nerve to call an old Love after drinking too much.
Most of us have been part of these moments, whether you can look back and shake your head or be there and cry or what side
of the telephone line you where on doesn’t seem to matter. Mike’s songs tell this a lot easier than this paragraph does.
Willie Nelson and his band listen to Mike Stinson while traveling on their tour bus, ‘The Honeysuckle Rose’, it’s true Mickey
Raphael said so. Not to mention that they where cool enough to have this stuff before the record came out.
The only problem that I have with Mike Stinson is when I’m hanging out, cooking chili is should I put on Willie Nelson’s ‘Phases
and Stages’ or should I put on Mike Stinson’s ‘Jack Of All Heartache’.
East Hollywood, California 2001
-JACK OF ALL HEARTACHE
When Dwight Yoakam walked into the
record store on Sunset Boulevard, the
clerks wondered what he was going to
buy. He walked up to counter and
slapped one CD down, Mike Stinson's,
"Jack Of All Heartache". Within a
couple month's Dwight cut "The Late
Great Golden State" from Mike's
record to use as the opening cut of his
Buy the record!
Be as cool as Dwight.
|photo by Chris Strother
|Mike Stinson relaxes at our North Hollywood Mansion
after writing another gold record.
|for more information go to www.mikestinson.net