Photo: Robbie Gomez
Pop-rock singer-songwriter Mike Derrick recently released his second album, Shades of You, following on the heels of 2021’s debut album, My Old Friends.
A lifelong musician, Mike didn’t consider himself a songwriter. Then he stopped drinking and, hey presto, songs poured out of him.
Mike explains, “The catalyst for my songwriting has been calling it quits with drinking. Suddenly, I had lots of time on my hands, and I naturally caught the music bug after many years dormant.”
He goes on, “I didn’t have the confidence before, and I don’t think I really had anything to say. But since I wrote my first song, there’s been a flood, and I haven’t looked back. I can’t get enough of music these days!”
Originally from the UK and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mike does it all: songwriting, producing, and engineering, as well as playing all the instruments save for drums and percussion. His sound blends folk-pop, rock, and prog-pop.
Comprising 11 tracks, Shades of You begins with “For You,” opening on dirty, growling guitars riding a potent mid-tempo rhythm. Vaguely reminiscent of CSN&Y, shimmering with gleaming country-rock savors, there’s a dreamy mobility to the tune.
“Why wait until it’s too late? / No agendas, just a clean slate / I’ll always be here for you / You should be here, too.”
Entry points include “Along the Way,” suffused by delicious vocal harmonies and platinum-colored guitars. Almost meandering, the sinuous flow of the harmonics infuses the tune with layers of undulating textures.
At once softly gorgeous and poetic, “The Wind Brings All To Dust” features Mike’s daughter, Reilly, whose radiant, sighing voice merges perfectly with Mike’s, giving the lyrics exquisite tonality, silky-smooth, and gliding.
A personal favorite because of its fat, rounded bassline juxtaposed against luminous guitars, “The Silver Nymph” oozes dazzling washes of coloration, as well as a contagious and effective offbeat cadence.
The title track rolls out on a luscious intro with hints of reggae and then flows into a gentle folk-pop melody topped by velvety vocals.
Mike ties the album off with “For the Sake of It,” traveling on a funk-lite rhythm as skiffing guitars add shiny, psychedelic accents. Mike’s voice, high and oozing honeyed timbres, imbues the lyrics with spectral tones.
Drenched in mandalas of SoCal soft rock flavors, Shades of You evokes musing connections to daydream-like memories.