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James McQuiston, Neufutur Magazine
“…There is a pristine and untouched feel to the compositions on this CD that will stick with listeners long after the title closes up….What results is something refreshing and utterly unique that makes this disc into one of the best we’ve reviewed in the last 12 months.
….Despite growing up and living an ocean away, there is no denying that Howe is able to faithfully recreate the spirit and the soul of the American west”.
“Often musicians have borrowed landscapes to define areas and cultures. Few have done it as well as Mike Howe. On Heading West he provides another exquisite view of nature through his musical compositions”.
Michael Debbage, mainlypiano.com
“Heading West is filled with Howe’s effortless ability to make outstanding exquisite music…and also represents one of his best recordings to date and undoubtedly one of 2013’s finer musical moments in its genre”.
Heading West by BraveGirlNYC
I love listening to Mike’s music. It evokes the natural world as it simultaneously compliments the beauty of nature. I find it soothing to the extreme. I discovered Mike’s music after meeting the man himself while vacationing in Wales. Mike comes across as such an approachable, cool individual that I really had no idea he was such a talented musician. What I’m saying is that a little bit of ego typically accompanies this kind of talent. Perhaps it’s the laid back pace of Pembs, perhaps it’s because he spends his days in a nature reserve, but his calm, soothing energy definitely comes through my speakers. I downloaded Island of Anywhere when I returned to San Francisco and it quickly became an old friend. Now I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know Heading West. And if you’re a fan of tranquility, you will too.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record
The impeccable acoustic guitarist takes a break from his aerie to travel America and turn in an impressionistic view of what he saw. He feeds us a surprise right out of the gate that challenges our expectations. The opening riff of the opening track sounds like the lead in to a mournful, Townes Van Zandt experience, but the surprise is that he stays instrumental. And the music proceeds to speak volumes. Always more into simple beauty than flash, Howe really does make you feel what he observed and this is quite the delightful instrumental masterpiece to end one year and start another with. Well done throughout.
Kathy Parsons, Mainlypiano.com
Dan Cowan, Music Design/New Sound
Mike Howe divides his time between being a guitarist and an ecologist at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales. There is a connection between these two endeavors; listen to the music of Howe and you’ll instantly sense his kinship with the natural world, evident by his breezy, nuanced guitar rhythms.
Heading West, which marks Howe’s fourth journey with Real Music, features some of his most sublime music to date. The guitar is central on this release, featuring warm, carefree strumming that is accented by keyboards, piano and rhythm. Songs like “Old Wooden House” and “American Travels” have a pensive beauty to them — the guitar harmonies bear a reflective essence, as if Howe is wandering through old haunt reminiscing of past joys. “Badlands” ups the tempo a bit and adds a bit of bluesy groove, while maintaining Howe’s signature laid-back flair. A must listen for fans of relaxing guitar music.