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Change is Good – Create Your Own Path

by M. Cardinal


Appalachian music is the music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music (especially fiddle music), hymns, and African-American blues. Banjos and Fiddles are the most popular instruments.

Mike playing harmonica.

Things worth writing about

There are a few exceptions but the vast majority of everyday hero Mike’s songs are about relationships between people. Additionally, they are about LOVE. Love in some fashion. As he shrugs his shoulders, he responds that he doesn’t see a whole “lot of other stuff” worth writing about. That is to say, “to tell you the truth”, “outside of people.”

Mike walking down his own road. Proving change is good.

Mike has played in many different locations, open mics, and everything in between but feels Paul Henry’s in Chicago is pretty unique. Many players come there. In the audience, you will find among the crowd, people who don’t perform, and artists, painters and poets too. It is definitely a unique place.

Why Mike feels change is good

In a philosophic moment Mikes sighs and gives us a piece of encouragement. “When you live in this world for a short time you can either be a change maker or you can be changed,” he believes. Which are you?

In one of his songs, the chorus goes something like this…the front door is wide open…lights on too…way of hoping…keep picture in a pocket…and check every hour. You get the jest, I’m sure its Love song.

Our everyday hero, Mike Owen encourages us all to “follow our own compass and dreams. Create your own path. Don’t let anyone else who doesn’t know the map you have drawn, guide you, or give you any direction.

Mike playing harmonica.

Trouble maker

As Mike Owen says, he felt he was a trouble maker at an early age. He always felt that change was good. According to his earliest memories, that is…would you believe by four years old? He reports that his parents would push him out the door to fend for himself.  As a result, he feels that is what made him adventurous and always looking for something new. Mike says he never worried about where he was or what he did, as he would always find his way back home. He said he has never been afraid to be lost. How remarkable!! Honestly, would you have been afraid?

Mike believes you must create your own path.

Change is good

Mike said he “was always wanting to be somewhere else, get somewhere else, or to be someone else.” As this everyday hero grew up, he got a job working for the railroad. A job that took him to new places and new people. This job was easy and comfortable for him, as he had traveled down those tracks many times. The ever-changing life of the road is what he knew and what he loved.

After work there wasn’t much to do except hang out in the local bars from town to town. So with guitar in hand he would pick some meaningful tunes. Mike didn’t know exactly what the people in each bar liked but hoped to leave with the guests cheering him and his music. “I tried to capture something we had in common…maybe the human spirit“, he said.

Mike always felt change is good, even with his music. He tried to fuse different types of music together.  Different types of root music…Blues root, Country root, and Appalachia root music too. His “out the door at an early age” life, obviously, made him adventurous so he tried it all. Those railroad tracks… hear that eerie sound, “wooooo wooooo” coming down those tracks?  And that long empty road.  That lonesome highway leading to where?  Where?

Change is good for Mike Owens

Little bit of human spirit

Mikes says that a little bit of spirit keeps us going and trying in this world. He would compose songs and actually wake up in the morning, or in the middle of the night and write about a song he was working on in his head. In addition, one might say, the creative juices working at their best. It just takes you over a little bit, he says. So he will “hang on” to it for a few days and let it “kinda” develop. “Over time it shapes up with musical phrasing around those words to make the words fit and then it kinda builds itself. There is a point at which the core and shape come together and everything flows quickly after that.”

Consequently, and as a result of his fascinating “change is good” life, Mike, a singer, songwriter, and musician, wrote a song about the highway. “A road for drifters…that very lonesome highway…this time crying…can’t stop walking…won’t be called a bum this time.” Goose pimples time for sure!

Mike walking down his own road. Proving change is good.

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