Pop music has found a new piano man in Mike Evin. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s unwavering belief that a three-minute pop song can reaffirm one’s faith in life, love and music has earned him a devoted following throughout North America, and among some of Canada’s most renowned musicians as well, like Ron Sexsmith and Barenaked Ladies. His disarming songs are personal enough to feel intimate, yet universal enough to inspire audiences to sing along. His live show, often consisting of just Mike and his piano, never fails to grab hold of a crowd.
Evin’s new and fifth recording, Do You Feel The World? – written after he’d moved back to his hometown of Montreal following stints in New Jersey, Toronto and Halifax – is full of catchy, well-produced piano pop songs, but retains that “live” energy so vital to his performance. Recorded in Nashville with producer Brad Jones (Josh Rouse), and ranging from African-meets-Latin drumming to soulful horns, from New Orleans-inspired jazz to pumping piano rock, this is music that was made to capture eardrums. It was also made to capture hearts: the songs on Do You Feel The World? are Evin’s most emotionally resonant and vulnerable to date, ranging from delight to loneliness, and everything in between. Most of all, they reach out to the world, yearning for connection, and savouring the joyful communion of music itself.
Evin’s enthusiastic audiences feel that communion, too, as evidenced by the fact that Do You Feel The World? was financed largely by his fans. Via his “Dreamers Club” campaign, they raised $6,000 to help pay for the album, which was recorded and mixed in 17 days – an astonishing feat, considering how professional it sounds.
Evin’s recordings have evolved from the modestly fashioned indie piano pop of his first two albums, The January Muse (self-produced, 2001) and I’ll Bring The Stereo (produced by Barenaked Ladies Jim and Andy Creeggan, 2005); to an EP of romantic love songs, Let’s Slow It Down (2007); to a “live-off-the-floor” album, Good Watermelon (2009). He’s shared stages with Canadian colleagues like Amy Millan, Sarah Harmer, Martha Wainwright and Ron Sexsmith – who even co-wrote and sang on one of the songs on Do You Feel The World?. Evin’s music has been embraced by CBC and college radio, he’s toured extensively in Central and Eastern Canada with his piano, and his song “Soapbox Racer” was featured in a Red Bull ad campaign in 2008. In February 2011, he enjoyed his second consecutive engagement on Barenaked Ladies’ annual “Ships & Dip” cruise, alongside such notable fellow musicians as Ben Kweller, Great Big Sea, Elliott Brood, Guster, Jenn Grant and The Odds.
But today, the question of the hour remains: Do You Feel The World? As one listen to the album will tell you, Mike Evin does. The best part is, he can make you feel it, too.