the museum of americana

a literary review

Mike Galbraith’s Here, Elsewhere—Review by Emma Guzman

For his new extended play record (EP), Here Elsewhere, Mike Galbraith has assembled a stable of stellar Detroit talent: Chuck Bartels of Sturgil Simpson fame on bass, Eddie Baranek (The Sights) and Matt Dmits on electric guitar, Steve Cousins (The Codgers) & Tamara Finlay (The Thornbills) on backing vocals, and Pete Ballard (Doop & The Inside Outlaws, The Scrappers) on pedal steel. It’s the perfect follow-up to Finster (2015), and it will help his fans drown their sorrows in his whiskey-soaked voice and nostalgia-laden lyrics.

The opening tune, “Time To Split” employs a longing pedal steel guitar to guide Galbriath’s wishful words about travelling. It combines the theme of experiencing the world with a catchy melody and tasty guitar licks. You asked the café for a piece of paper and  a pen, said let’s write down ten places that we’ve never been. 

From there it’s an easy transition into “Oh Karina,” a timely lamentation about falling in love with a woman facing deportation. The instrumentation is sweet and simple, with a driving guitar progression and added flavors of accordion, slide, and honky tonk piano. 

The EP takes a turn with “Built to Break,” an angst-driven song about unrequited love. The distorted guitar complements Galbraith’s gritty vocals and resentful lyrics. A highlight of this song is the bridge, where the music slows down and grooves into an almost atonal steel guitar part.

The final two songs end “Here, Elsewhere” on a sentimental note. “Out of My Mind” is a cloying ballad about falling in love. The dissonant notes of Galbraith’s progression, the ethereal nostalgia of the vocals, the sweet, sad melody, all culminate in the song’s dreaminess. Then, dreaminess fades into melancholy with “Not For the Winter,” a doleful tune about lost love. The tinkling piano couples with the lovelorn lyrics to leave listeners wistful and teary-eyed. My favorite line from the whole EP comes from this song, when Galbraith croons, “I keep the coals on for her return, I put my coat on as the flame stops burnin’.” This song is a sweet conclusion to a great EP.

Overall, Here, Elsewhere captures Mike Galbraith’s knack for songwriting, as well as his way with melodies and guitar licks. Whether you’re heartbroken, a hopeless romantic, or just enjoy good music, Here, Elsewhere will have you enthralled. 

 

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Emma Guzman is a Detroit songwriter, musician, cat enthusiast, and journalist.