Talk about taking your music in a new direction. Michael Simone had carved out a nice career as an EDM producer when he decided to shift gears pretty dramatically. Leaving the world of electronic music behind, Simone became the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist for Americana outfit Ocean Carolina. And if terrific sophomore slab “Maudlin Days” is any indication, it was absolutely the right move.
“I just wanted to be the guy who showed up in the studio with my guitar and played and sang my songs with a band,” Simone says. “We were lucky enough to get Jon Graboff at the helm as producer and we knocked out the entire thing in 11 days. Jon was adamant on making sure we stuck to the tradition of making albums the way they used to be made.”
The Ocean Carolina lineup has changed over the years — with Simone and bassist Alex Cox the lone constants — but the music remains top-notch. “Maudlin Days” gets off to a so-so start with “All I Can Do” before Simone & Co. hit their stride with keepers “Once You’ve Done Me Wrong,” “Cry Baby Cry,” “If It Burns Out Bright,” personal favorite “Don’t Carry On,” “Little Things’ and “Someday Soon.” Please make a point to track down this fantastic record. I promise you won’t regret it. (Jeffrey Sisk)