Mike Aiken | Hula Girl Highway

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United States - Virginia

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Country: Americana Rock: Tropical Rock Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Hula Girl Highway

by Mike Aiken

A variety of Americana, country, and roots music with a tropical ocean view. Breezy and laid back yet energetic songs that tell stories about life, love, and adventure through vivid maritime imagery. "You could get a tan just listening." -Paul Shugrue
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Jagger & Jones
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3:52 $0.99
2. Thick Black Water
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4:03 $0.99
3. Love You Tonight
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3:08 $0.99
4. Find Me
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3:46 $0.99
5. Jump Up
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2:47 $0.99
6. This Here Mandolin
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3:37 $0.99
7. Blowin' Like A Bandit
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2:40 $0.99
8. Down In Daytona
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3:35 $0.99
9. Bottoms Up
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2:30 $0.99
10. Thank You (My Buffett Tune)
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3:13 $0.99
11. Talk To Your Daughter
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4:38 $0.99
12. Banana Republic
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5:27 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Not many people get to live life on their terms. But that is exactly what singer/songwriter/sailor Mike Aiken has been able to do by combining his three greatest passions in life: music, sailing and adventure. With the release of Hula Girl Highway, Mike’s sophomore record for Northwind/Aspirion Records, he continued to cement his place as an authentic voice of a wayfaring lifestyle that most of us will only just dream about.

Mike is truly one of the lucky ones, living the life he sings about with his wife and musical partner, Amy, aboard a 42-foot cutter in the Norfolk, Virginia area. He’s as adept at tying nautical knots as he is painting musical memories and images of the places and people he’s met along his journey.

Strangely enough for a die-hard sailor, that journey began as very landlocked. Mike grew up outside of Buffalo in rural Western New York; his love affair with the sea was kindled at the young age of eight when a family friend introduced him to sailing. Around the same time, Mike started developing his natural musical ability, learning to play acoustic and electric guitar.

His musical metaphors are a mix of those two worlds: rural and coastal. "I come from those back roads, dirt under my boots; now I live on the water with a country point of view," Mike sings in his first single off the new record, "Find Me." “I wrote this like I write all my songs,” says Aiken, “from the heart and from what I know. This one came to me while anchored in the Bahamas, holed up during a hellacious storm. Amy and I weathered it for three weeks, taking odd jobs to survive. We had wind generators to make drinking water and were better off than most. It was then I knew I was one of the luckiest SOB’s in the world to have the chance to live this lifestyle.”

While luck may have something to do with it, so does hard work. It all started to pay off when Mike began touring all over the country and in Europe. Highlights included opening shows like the Sunset Festival in Newport, Rhode Island for Bruce Hornsby and appearing at the Hampton Coliseum Winter Blast with Ashton Shepard and Chris Cagle. Mike was also invited to participate at the prestigious Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Mike’s success on the other side of the pond proves that music knows no boundaries and borders. He toured Europe, including France, and hit 24 on the Euro/Americana Charts, with the single "No Fishin' Pole" reaching the top spot on the Euro Indie Hot Disc Chart. The song is part of a Universal Records Country Compilation CD along with tunes from Tim McGraw, Joe Nichols, Gary Allen, Phil Vassar, and Trisha Yearwood.

Mike’s previous recordings were made at sea almost literally, aboard a converted 1941 Navy Tugboat. However, when it came time to track songs for this latest record, a change in latitude but not attitude was in order. “I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and compromise who I am musically, I just wanted to ramp it up a bit. To do that I recorded the project in Nashville with the best players possible. “

The result is a twelve track record filled with Mike’s signature breezy feel good sound along with his strong song sensibility and musical muscle (Mike plays most of the stringed instruments). Eight of the songs are original compositions, and the rest are covers that he selected with great deliberation. “When writing and picking the music I think of the folks and fans who have supported me along the way. I chose the covers, ‘Blowin’ Like A Bandit’ by Guy Clark, ‘Banana Republic’ by Steve Goodman, and 'This Here Mandolin’ by Michael Smith to reflect who I am and who my listeners are.“

Like the ever-changing sea that he loves, there are many sides to Mike. Besides recording and touring, he’s also a contributing writer for Singer and Musician Magazine and a music producer for Raceline TV (syndicated NASCAR series). Mike’s six-string dexterity earned him a Takamine Endorsement and the creation of his signature guitar, the 'Travelin Bone.’' A believer in giving back, his philanthropic activities include being a sponsor of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (benefiting the area’s environmental interests) and a founder of the “Aiken and Friends Music Festival,” which helps fund music education.

Mike continues to tour, work on new songwriting and recording projects, and organize philanthropic activities, most currently the 2011 Aiken and Friends Music Festival in September and October. “I am one of the lucky ones,” muses Aiken. “With my music, my boat, and my friends, I am ready for wherever the winds blow.” For the rest of us that’s a good thing, a chance for us landlubbers to close our eyes and live a life on the high seas vicariously through Mike Aiken and his music.

Listeners say:

I saw your music on airplay direct and took it for airplay. You are great! - Ginny Foley, Music Director of Neon Productions Radio

Greetings from Principality of Liechtenstein ... your songs sounds great! :-) - Anna Berghold

Hula Girl Highway made my list of top 10 albums for 2008. - Gianni Zuretti, CD Reviewer for Italian roots music website


Reviews


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Allison

Great CD!
I love this CD! It’s country, but not too country, and it always makes me feel like I’m on the beach or out on a sailboat. I’m from the beach, but I don’t live there anymore. This CD makes me feel like I’m back there again when I listen to it. The music is very high quality – a tight band, high quality recording, great instrumental work, and good vocals that are alternately energetic and soothing. The songs that are in minor keys have this great mysterious feel, and they work really well with the sea lore-related lyrics. Some other songs are so relaxing and soothing – I love the emphasis on acoustic stringed instruments. Others are just plain fun – full of joyful songs about love and adventure. I’ve seen Mike Aiken play live, and these songs are so much fun to dance to. They just make your day a little bit better. My favorite one is “Find Me” – I just love the guitar riffs. They definitely have a Southern rock feel. Of course, there’s nothing like having a good drinking song – there are a couple of those on the record as well. I would definitely recommend this record to anyone who likes folk or country, particularly if they like the beach. It’s the perfect CD for summer.

Jeff Maisey

Correspondent, Virginian-Pilot
Aiken's debut album introduced him to the country music world, but "Hula Girl Highway" should put him on Nashville's inner-loop radar. The 12 song album features his best songwriting to date. "Jagger & Jones" sounds like a surefire country hit; "Find Me" straddles Southern rock a la Marshall Tucker;"Down In Daytona" is an amusing, upbeat breakup tune; the ballad "Banana Republic" recalls Jimmy Buffettt and Gordon Lightfoot; and old-school country enlivens "Jump Up" and "Blowin' Like A Bandit." All of these tracks benefit from a warm, full-sounding mix.
"This CD became a large part of a dream for me," Aiken said. "I found myself signed to a good label (Aspirion Records) with access to Nashville studios and musicians, and with enough success to warrant putting out a new CD. We picked a funky old studio on Music Row and tracked on 2-inch tape. I wanted that analog tape warmth for this CD and had the chance to do it that way."
Well deserved, indeed.