Just Add Salt
2007 RELEASE OF THE ENHANCED, NASHVILLE VERSION OF JUST ADD SALT Aiken has the lifestyle most people only fantasize about. He lives on a boat, christened "Ocean Girl," a 42-foot cutter named for a Neil Young song, and travels the world performing the music he loves, gathering loyal fans wherever he goes. A modern-day guitar playing troubadour, his songs are like tonic for the work-a-day world and are filled with musical influences that stretch from Newfoundland to Cuba. His captivating sound is rootsy and Americana/Country, while being influenced by Celtic, Folk, Maritime, Calypso, and Caribbean music. Charles Doane of Sail magazine refers to Aiken as "Something of a floating John Prine - crossed with Ry Cooder." Aiken wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 12 songs on Just Add Salt. At first glance, the CD is filled with pure escapism, and images of surf, sun, and fun in faraway places. However, Aiken's easy-going style belies the adversity of real life on a boat, and the album includes glimpses of the ocean's dangers - lightning, hurricanes and gale force winds. Highlights of the enchanced CD include videos for the thought-provoking "90 Miles to Hemingway," where Aiken dreams of visiting Cuba, which is currently off-limits to U.S. citizens, and "Hillbilly Beach Bum," a fun beach romp filled with margaritas and dark-eyed senoritas. Other standout tracks include "Back to You," a Crosby, Stills, and Nash-flavored tune which highlights Aiken's prowess on the acoustic and slide guitar, "No Fishin' Pole," a tongue-in-cheek playful 'boy-meets-girl' fiddle and guitar toe-tapper, and "One More Night," a literary metaphor fraught with danger, and the ultimate desire to return home safely. Aiken also added his own arrangements of two cover songs, the delightful "Friend of the Devil," originally recorded by the Grateful Dead and presented here with a Celtic flair, and the whimsical "If I Had a Boat," from the pen of Lyle Lovett. As an indication of Aiken's broad-based appeal, instrumental versions of four songs from Just Add Salt were adapted for the popular syndicated NASCAR television series RACELINE. Originally hailing from the Buffalo, New York area, Mike developed his musical talent at an early age, becoming proficient on acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and National steel guitar. As a teenager, he cut his teeth playing in bands in roadhouses and clubs in the northeast and worked as a solo act. His instrumental prowess eventually led to an endorsement by Takamine Guitars and the creation of Mike's signature guitar, aptly named "The Travelin' Bone." Early on, Mike realized he had a strong wanderlust - a restless urge to travel. It didn't take long for him to discover that sailboats could take him almost anywhere he wanted to go. Combining his two passions - playing music and sailing, he moved aboard his sailboat and started to travel. He took his music to Maritime Canada, then to Portugal and Spain. After performing in Europe, he sailed to the Caribbean and continued playing throughout the islands. Today, he performs everywhere - even for "flatlanders" - and scores loyal fans wherever he goes. Many of Mike's CDs have been recorded on a big red 1941 Navy tug boat named the "Bay Queen," moored in his home port of Norfolk, VA. The Aikens first met it's owner Captain David Briggs when they limped into port several years ago on a cold, dark, and stormy December night after suffering from engine trouble. Briggs befriended the couple, and they soon learned that the tug boat had long ago been retired and the engines had been removed. In their mind, that left plenty of room in it's belly for a recording studio. After an OK from Briggs, they soundproofed it and filled it with equipment, and with Amy behind the sound board, they began making music in earnest. Just Add Salt is Aiken's third CD release, following Travelin' Bone in 2002 and Getaway in 2003, and preceding Hula Girl Highway in 2008. It was his first release on Northwind/Aspirion Records, which also released Hula Girl Highway. Listeners say: I saw your music on airplay direct and took it for airplay. You are great! - Ginny Foley, Music Director of Neon Productions Radio Greetings from Principality of Liechtenstein ... your songs sounds great! :-) - Anna Berghold WOW!!! Just listened to 90 miles to Hemingway! What a GREAT song! - Glenda Sprague.