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Shrouded in secrecy, Mike Pope might as well be the mythological folk apparition of a distant past. For more than a decade, he was perhaps the best-kept secret of Southern California’s songwriting community: a prodigious finger-picker and storyteller whose music earned comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Bert Jansch, Lead Belly, and Taj Mahal.
Those who had the opportunity to watch his impromptu performances could not track down any musical recordings. As a result, Pope remained a mystery until 2022, when the San Diego-based record label Blind Owl convinced him to enter a recording studio with a band for the first time. The result is a pair of stunning albums due October 7th — Songs For People (High & Low) and Ripening — the first official releases from the genre-fluid folk artist.
Songs For People (High & Low) is a reflective collection of confessions. As romantic as it is tragic, the album dances through the rustic Americana of Paul Clayton and Townes Van Zandt while adapting the contemporary tinge of early Andrew Bird and Bon Iver. This is music for memories and the long shadows at dusk – a daydream serenade colored in faded sepias and bruised blues. The album opens with the guitar arpeggios and three-part vocal harmonies of “Mirror,” the track that The Big Takeover is premiering today. Pope explains “Mirror,” – “You can spend so much time looking at yourself but not seeing yourself.”
This is music for memories and the long shadows at dusk — a daydream serenade colored in faded sepias and bruised blues.
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