Studio owner Michael Crittenden unveiled a unique instrumental project for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted music by River City Narrative, Laura Rain, Flowers on the Grave, Laggies and more.
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Like many musicians, Michael Crittenden developed a tight, affectionate bond with his pet – in this case, a beloved studio cat named Miss Paris Smith.
The multi-instrumentalist and recording studio owner also has long hankered to produce what he calls an instrumental “Euro chill-out” album that’s a departure from the usual folk-rock music he’s churned out with the band Troll for Trout.
The result? Crittenden’s new “Too Chillay for Cats” solo album filled with laid-back but melodic tracks recorded during the COVID pandemic when he finally had the time to create his “smoove” tribute to Miss Paris.
Featuring songs with titles such as “Calico Quarantine,” “Gonna Stay Inside Today” and, yes, “Too Chillay for Cats,” the collection officially gets released in November.
“Miss Paris passed away on July 3 at 19 years old. She was certainly an inspiration for the creation of it and was hanging in the studio during much of the recording,” said Crittenden, a Traverse City resident who owns and operates the Mackinaw Harvest Studios in Grand Rapids.
Initially laying down tracks for the project at his Traverse City home while his studio was shut down during the pandemic, Crittenden eventually put the finishing touches on the 10-track affair earlier this year in Grand Rapids.
He credits everything from his love of smooth jazz artists to his penchant for ’80s synth-pop acts such as New Order for this instrumental amalgamation.
“Lots of influences. It sounds kind of like if Steve Winwood were to make a chill-out record with the Pet Shop Boys,” he suggested “I’ve always loved the style of music and glad I finally got a chance to do some of it.”
NEW MATERIAL FROM TROLL FOR TROUT, TOO
Of course, Crittenden balances this solo endeavor with completion of the rootsier music he creates as frontman for Troll for Trout, which aims to release its first full-length studio album in more than a decade early next spring.
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Crittenden performed an acoustic rendition of a new Troll for Trout song, “Worth the Wait,” and debuted the track, “Still in Love” from “Too Chillay for Cats.” Scroll down to listen to both songs and the full radio show podcast, recorded during the final day of WYCE’s Fall Fund Drive.
Crittenden had considered releasing his “Euro chill-out” album under a pseudonym but eventually decided to just use his real name for the project.
“Easier that way and less confusing for people,” he said.
“I have some hard copies back from pressing. Still waiting on digital platforms to get it up and available on Spotify, etc. I suspect that will be finished up within a few weeks and it should be perfect timing because I wanted to wait until it was actually a bit chilly outside to release it.”
The Oct. 22 episode of Local Spins on WYCE also boasted new music from River City Narrative, Major Murphy, Laura Rain & The Caesars, Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps, J.Rob, Flowers on the Grave, Laggies and The Ryne Experience.
Listen to the full show podcast here, and go online to wyce.org to donate to the community radio station on the final day of its Fall Fund Drive. Donors will be entered into a drawing for a special Local Spins gift package (T-shirt, CDs, concert tickets and more).
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (10/22/21)
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