Hailing from Massachusetts, but calling the Bay Area home since the '80s, singer-songwriter Mickelson doesn't rely on trending sounds or ideologies to express the confusion and love and mischievousness that lingers in his head and his heart. And over the years, he's had more than his fair share of experiences with all these emotions. He released 5 albums with his band Fat Opie, has felt the sting and struggle of dealing with a long-term illness and even carved out a nice career as a children's author. And so his life comes to us as a work of narrative complexity, buffeted by strong influences and events that threaten to derail its direction but never quite diverting its momentum. He operates from within the traditional landscapes of the singer-songwriter aesthetic but manages to find new ways to inject a refreshing vitality and electrifying energy into its familiar movements.
His upcoming record, "A Wondrous Life," is set to be released on May 4. But unlike his previous releases, Mickelson produced and engineered these new songs on his own, even performing most of the instrumentation (minus the drums and horns).
On his latest single, "No Such Luck," he clings to a deadpan humor, the kind of self-deprecating self-preservation afforded to those who approach life with a mischievous glint in their eye and can smile at the darkness around them. Inspired by "Martha My Dear" by The Beatles, the song features the first time he ever recorded himself on piano, but far from revealing his studio inexperience with the instrument, the resulting upbeat stomp and bounce is a testament to his natural ability in divining the use and relevance of any instrument in his hands. From the wobbly keys to the chiming guitars and infectious pop polish, the track highlights our predisposition towards taking on more than we can handle. "We tend to keep ourselves in a state of stress, many times by choice, " he explains. "We seem to take on more than we can comfortably handle, then blame ourselves for not doing it well enough."