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City & Colour’s Bring Me Your Love, 10 Years Old

2018 February 12
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by Mike Vial

Bring Me Your Love is 10-years-old. What’s that cliche about time flying?

For me, time takes me back to road trips through Ontario.

Bring Me Your Love changed my life while I was teaching in Holly. I listened to Dallas Green on repeat to get through lonely times while living in Fenton, the year before I met my wife.

On a whim, I wrote a Myspace message to the producer, Dan Achen, asking if he had time to record a high school teacher who wrote some songs.

Dan wrote me back and said, “Let’s do it!”

So there I was in 2009, crossing the border to Canada, driving to this amazing place: a church converted into a recording studio.

The bell would ring on Friday. I’d leave Holly High School’s parking lot, drive four hours to Hamilton–while listening to City and Colour on repeat–and soon find myself standing in the same place where my favorite record was cut. I was playing the same instruments used, too, including a pre-war Martin acoustic! (Dan had the *best* guitar collection!)

Plus, the studio would let me sleep in the basement to save money during those weekend-recording-marathons. I’d grade papers at night after long days of recording with a red pen in my right hand, a pint of Canadian ale in my left.

In March of 2010, between first and second hour, I found out Dan died of a heart attack. I called Michael Chambers from the staff bathroom to see if the news was real. I was wiping tears from my eyes as a pack of 30 freshmen entered my classroom. (I think we were reading Romeo and Juliet’s Act II. s3 that day: “The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night.”)

I only got to spend a few weekends with Dan, but he changed my life. After Dan died, I committed to leaving teaching to do music full time, partly because I saw how short life could be, partly because Dan showed an interest in what I was making.

And I formed friendships in Canada that I’m so lucky to have after all of these years. Michael Chambers and I would go on to finish more recordings at Catherine North Studios between 2011-2013.

It was all because of this record by City and Colour.

And now it’s ten years later. A pack of freshmen will be coming into my classroom tomorrow, and this record will be playing in the background as they enter.



2018 February 4
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by Mike Vial

I follow the school policy,
but if you hear me say, “MIT!”
that means
put your phone
Yep, MIT!

Isn’t that ‘
a college?

MIT* particpated
in a study of workers.
People lost 20% productivity
when their cellphones
were on their desk.’

Whoa! Leaving a ‘
phone on the desk
ruined productivity?

Hold on,
my phone’s ringing’.


Setlist – On the Tracks Series

2018 January 4
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by Mike Vial

Set List – January 3, 2018
On the Tracks, Chelsea, MI
Opening for Drew Nelson

  1. Damn Fine Day
  2. A World That’s Bigger
  3. I Just Want to Be Your Last
  4. One Way Road
  5. Burning Bright
  6. Little Drum
  7. Two Angels (Ann Arbor – June 22, 1996)

[Setlist] Dec 2, 2017: Christmas with a Twist at Cleary University

2017 December 3
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by Mike Vial

[Setlist] Dec 2, 2017: Christmas with a Twist
at Cleary University, Howell, MI.

Hosted by 2 Stones Events

Other Performing Artists:
Trey Conner:Listen here
Alison Albrecht Listen here
Julie Haven – Listen here

    1. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” – Mike Vial
    2. “A World That’s Bigger” – Mike Vial
    3. “All I Want for Christmas” – Alison Albrecht
    4.  “Soldier” – Alison Albrecht
    5. “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” – Trey Conner
    6. “Untitled” – Trey Conner
    7. Blue Christmas – Julie Haven
    8. Love & War – Julie Haven
    9. “I Just Want to Be Your Last” – Mike Vial
    10. “Winter Wonderland” – Mike Vial
    11. “Mary Did You Know” – Alison Albrecht
    12. “Not Alone” – Alison Albrecht
    13. “Little Drummer Boy” – Trey Conner
    14. “My Ghosts” – Trey Conner
    15. “Carol of the Bells”  – Julie Haven
    16. “Between the Lines” – Julie Haven
    17. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings” – finale




When the Silver Maple Drops Its Leaves

2017 November 12
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by Mike Vial

The silver maple in our back yard has finally dropped its leaves, which means winter is coming to Michigan.

I’m happy to be able to take some time off the road now that I’m teaching Language Arts again at a high school.

No more driving to Chicago during the worst snow storm for a gig, to find the locals cancel and I’m the only one performing! No more getting stuck in a $50 motel because the roads are frozen at 2 AM as I drive home from a late gig! Nope, if anything, I might enjoy a snow day or two.

However, I’ll still be playing locally all winter: 
My residency at mash (Blue Tractor Brewery’s basement bar) continues, five  years strong in Ann Arbor! I just announced my January and February dates. Also, I’ll be at Brighton Bar and Grill in February, during a school break.

I have some fun original music shows, too: 

  • December 2: 2 Stone Events Christmas Show at Cleary’s University
  • January 3:  Annie Capp’s On the Tracks Series in Chelsea
  • February 17: Flint Folk Society concert

Summer Tour 2018 with Mike Gentry

Mike Gentry and I are planning a summer tour, and I’m excited to have four dates already confirmed across four states. I’ll have more to announce with this. Mike Gentry is deep into finishing his first solo project, and the tour will be celebrating its release.

I also may have some new music to share soon, either a new single or EP out in 2018. I have a lot of songs in the back catalogue, but I’m not sure a full record is thematically emerging. I’m still working on a collection of songs called Profiles in Courage, which might be the next recorded project.

Solid Sounds Recording Studio in Ann Arbor is my new neighbor, so I’m excited to do some track there during a school break.

Anyways, I need to get back to commenting back on my students’ writing. See you at a gig.