Michael Yurich - Catching Up

Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

There are few musicians in Sault Ste. Marie that have the talent of Michael Yurich.  It's that simple.  He is a master of guitar, piano and vocals and on top of that I would almost say a music historian as you could talk hours about bands and their careers with him.. He has played in the Sault for years but also across Canada with many bands.  During those Sault years, his bands were top draws in our local bars and even today he is remembered for his talents and the bands he had.   His blues rock country band "The Vikings" were well known here, packing bars with their vast variety of music.  Mike was in charge of his bands in both sound, style and material.  He also knew how to get gigs and he rarely went a weekend without playing.  How do I know this?  Easy.  I spent 2 years playing and touring with Mike in the Viking band. ;-)  In my 30 years as a musician, I've never learned as much about music as I did playing in the Viking band with Mike.  Throughout those 2 years we worked pretty much every day.  We'd work full and partial weeks and toured on both the U.S. side of the border and Southern Ontario.  He simply found the work, and we followed.   Mike set the tone for songs and how they were to be arranged.  All we had to do was learn our stuff and show up.  It was all done for us.  You might call it a band on cruise control.

As a musician, I was in awe of his playing.   To watch him have a guitar strapped around his neck and play some great stuff and then walk over to the keyboards and play some boogie woogie piano line and then yank out a harmonica and play that all in the same song while punching out vocals was absolutely impressive.  In all the time I worked with him, I respected him and what he was doing.  Not everything was rosie but I will say that I left that band a far better musician with a respect for many more styles of music.  Mike recently showcased his talents for the wonderful local concert "18 Forever" where he was a backup musician and soloist for a number of the bands participating.  That show alone was a blast to see.

Mike's new album "Catching Up" is a bit mellower than some of the material we use to play in the Vikings band but his talent is easily displayed on this CD.  Mike is like many musicians doing their own home recording these days.  The album contains 10 songs that range between jazz and blues and it also contains songs I did with Mike on stage many times which are "World of Silence" and "Constantly Blue" both being crowd faves at our shows.  I remember us arranging these songs in his old apartment on Woodward Ave. back in the day.  Mike's lead guitar playing is extremely melodic on this CD and the interplay between that and his singing  is a true strong point on this album.  Filling in the spaces of a song with beautiful guitar riffs is Mike's trademark.   Mike gave me this album a few years ago and it was in my player for a while.   The only negative thing  about the album is that it uses electronic drums and drum machines which actually surprises me because Mike is a huge fan of drummers and real drums.   This album is not for everyone only because blues and jazz seem to turn people off these days but it's a great way to hear a solid Sault musician who opened the doors for a lot of other musicians in this city. I hope those musicians gave this CD a listen in support.

Now, the unfortunate part is that the change in music over the years makes it hard for talented players to keep up to the pace.  You have to adapt and evolve in some ways.   The music scene did change and has continued to change and not all for the good.  With that, Mike relocated to Sarnia last I heard which is actually a regular stomping ground for him.   I just know Mike will play guitar until his last breath.  It's probably his most loyal friend and it's got him out of tough spots throughout his life.  ;-)

Here is the track listing for the album  Catching Up.
1. Catching Up with the News
2. Close the Door
3. Singing the Blues
4. Constantly Blue
5. Didn't Say Goodbye
6. I know
7. Walk Away
8. World of Silence
9. You're No Angel
10.Into the Light

I see no signs of this album for sale on line but I'm sure it's in some of the local Sault CD joints. Definitely try the Rad Zone as they are amongst the biggest supporters of local talent.

Here is Mike playing "Constantly Blue" from the CD, live, a song I did with him many times in the past and he still sings and plays it beautifully.  Enjoy