Written by Eddie Ferantti
ImageTwo longtime buds got together and invited us to join them in the form of Mike Stinson and Brian Whelan at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. We had caught Whelan a few years back when he had a four piece including Stinson on drums at Under the Volcano. This go around was a two tunes on and off song swap that went quite well indeed.

BW was a pup back in LA when he latched onto the talented likes of Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson and Stinson honing his talented chops, which eventually landed him in Dwight Yoakam’s band as lead guitarist for several years. Got to chat with Brian a bit earlier in the day at Cactus Records’ mini-gig and some of the stories he shared of those days are let’s say off the record great.

He’s bolted off the DY thing and played gems from his solo effort, ‘Decider’ and newbie coming out soon which displayed his prowess as a solo performer. To say he learned well from his elders is putting it mildly.

Cutting “Sharp Teeth of Love”, “Mojave High”, “Could Be Cosmic”, catchy “Nickel and Dime” and an Oscar like salute to Stinson himself on  Mike’s own “Brand New Love Song” were all excellent.  All the while, underated and crafty pro Stinson slowly killed it both with his comedic one liners to his talented songwriting delivered handsomely solo.  After the dedication he dead panned “I taught him all he knows” , plus when he spoke of his latest fine release, ‘Hell and Half of Georgia’, he said it had gone “plywood” heading for corkboard!

Highlights included tune about emotional and real baggage “Box I Take to Work”,  soulful version of “May Have to Do It”, song he proclaimed he woke up and wrote from dead asleep “Walking Home in the Rain” , “Found the Other Side of the Blues” and always welcome “Late for My Funeral”.

ImageDude is one of thee most down to earth musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to follow and always lavishes praise on others.

The shifting gears between the two was refreshing and BW’s new ones “Americana”, which he tongue in cheek proclaimed won’t get much air play, and wife inspired “Sugarland”  (she’s from there in Tx.)  may actually jump start him to get air play !.

The sound was terrific at this fine venue and they saved the real treat of thee evening for last when they hooked up together and rocked the joint silly on “Atlantic City” and especially “Married Me a Rocker”. As great as each was on his own, this final snippet left the packed house aching for more.

H-Town is damn lucky to have Mike Stinson call it his home and here’s hoping Mr. Whelan comes back to visit more often, too………….God Bless you if you go out and SUPPORT live music!