Let me introduce myself.

My name is Michael Joseph Cain. I am a musician, visual artist and luthier living here in New Orleans. It has been my home for the past 30 years. I will skip the part of my visual arts career and go directly to my involvement with music since 2007. But, you can see some of my work at: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelCainArtsAndMusic

As I said, I have been playing music in the New Orleans area since 2007, where I fronted a band called, The Parishioners until 2014. The culmination of that time started the year before, when we were awarded a recording grant from the Threadhead Cultural Foundation to release our third CD, Between Piety and Desire. The project earned nominations for best song of the year, best roots rock album of the year and we made the list of the top 50 recordings by Offbeat Magazine. The seven years of consistent performance around the city started to pay off and we were finally able to establish a broader presence.  And, then the accident happened…

A few months after the Offbeat awards, I was out on a drive in my ‘59 Edsel. Well, like any car that old, there are chances one takes in reference to its dependability. Sure enough, I had to call a tow truck. In the middle of helping the driver get it onto the bed, a curious passerby chose to ask about the car. With my eagerness to always talk about it, I turned around to the passerby to give my response. Without giving it thought, I stepped on the oil-soaked bed that was set at an inclined position. Sure enough I went down. I ended up breaking three ribs and dislocating three of my fingers so bad that the damage wasn’t fully repairable. Thus went my ability to continue playing guitar (the most common way), and I couldn’t continue the band’s work. The Parishioners were no more.

The first couple of years, I was kind of lost, because I put much of my life into the project. At the same time, I wasn’t missing the hard parts of the music world. But, as anyone would expect, I started missing being able to play the guitar. One day I woke up and finally had enough. I decided I was going to build myself a cigar box guitar and learn how to play slide. I walked into a friend’s music store and asked him if he had any cheap necks. He didn’t, but he handed me all of the parts that go into making a resonator guitar. I happen to be a metal worker, so what did I do? I made a steel guitar (technically aluminum). I enjoyed it so much I made another. And, then another. Fast forward seven years and I do it as a business. Mercury Lab Guitars. I will skip the details about that here, but please visit www.mercurylabguitars.com for more information on that work.

Back to the relevant information, in a nut shell, I spent a number of years basically having to relearn an instrument. It isn’t like I was a master guitar player in the first place, but, after decades of playing a certain way, switching to open tunings and using a completely different tool, by way of the slide, It takes a while to find your “voice” with the instrument. A couple of years back, I finally felt I was rediscovering mine, and so I finally started writing new music again.

With that, I would have to say there are certain results from living hard and getting up in age. You start to mellow, but the grit is still there. In fact, it accumulates even more. The only real change is that the edge isn’t quite as sharp as it once was. That kind of sums up New Orleans, and I also think you will hear it in my new music. And, you can’t escape the inherent nature of the resonator guitar, especially when accompanied with a slide. It is straight up blues even when you don’t actually play true blues. I certainly don’t consider my music as true blues, but certain influences do show up, including some hill country picking patterns. That, and the grit. You can’t wash off the grit once it is on you…

See you out there…

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