Mike McKenna Jr.

Mike McKenna Jr is a soulful and haunting balladeer, with a gritty and powerful voice, a folky rhythm to his guitar playing, and an authenticity in his stories that has captivated listeners in his native Maritimes and around North America.

Mike draws inspiration for his music from his early life growing up in Cape Breton, a region known as much for its rugged and picturesque landscape as for its rich cultural legacy that includes 500-years of colonial history and the accumulated oral traditions of Celtic, Mi’kmaq, and Acadian storytelling. The nostalgia of the countryside can be heard in “Take Me Home”, the opening track of Mike’s latest album Travelin Man, and in the oil-workers ballad, “Die in the West” — songs that idealize the cherished landscapes of home.

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With a mother from Glace Bay and a father from Boston, Mike was significantly influenced by two working class cultures; the strong historical relationship between Nova Scotia and New England is evident in his music. His raspy, warm voice is reminiscent of a folky, Sweet Baby James era James Taylor, or the power of Ray Lamontagne, but his tales of tragic sea voyages and lost lovers are a throwback to the nautical-themed traditional songs of Canadians like Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot.

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