Jami Lynn

Dakota Duets

Many of my fellow transplants to the Black Hills speak of an "aha" moment or experience that moves them to make this place home. For Mike Linderman, it was a little of both. A period of time spent in a friend's cabin in a deeply shaded canyon followed by a hike in much sunnier Wind Cave National Park is what spurred Mike's permanent move to Hot Springs. Since then, he has been a fixture of the singer/songwriter music scene in the Southern Hills. I don't use the term "scene" here lightly. Some of you may remember The Songbird Cafe in Custer and the surrounding venues that thrived during the the mid 2000s. Mike played dual parts in the scene, both performing and booking talent. National and regional artists as well as locals enjoyed full house "pin drop" open mics and weekly concerts modeled after The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. 

Cultivating a listening culture as a music organizer is no small feat. It doesn't surprise me, however, that such a passionate and focused individual as Mike was involved in creating this scene. His songwriting and picking chops follow suit. For example, one of the first things I learned of Mike Linderman the performer, is that not only does he keep his guitar in a high quality hard case, but that case then goes inside a “guitar cooler” or thermal case. I imagined someone who valued their instrument so much must also have mastery of it. I was not disappointed. His melodic finger-style accompaniment to carefully chosen or written songs not only thrills me, but brings me to a more focused listening space than usual.

Mike grew up in Greybull, Wyoming. The summer before senior year, he and a handful of friends ordered instruments from Montgomery Ward and started a band. “We learned Proud Mary and House of the Rising Sun and played those two songs like a hundred times,” Mike recalls. They found themselves booked pretty regularly after that. It was later on in life that Mike ran across a basic nylon stringed guitar and started playing James Taylor tunes.

I've learned that Mike is generally drawn to songs with unique or incredible stories. This is also something that influences his songwriting. With a new EP of originals just out this month, I think you’ll agree with me. When Mike presented “One Lone Rowan Tree” by Kim McKee as an option for our duet, he included a bit of the story behind the song. It tells of the celtic tradition of the lost souls burial. During a certain period of time in Ireland, if an individual was cast out of the church for any reason, a churchyard burial was also forbidden. People started burying these loved ones under lone standing trees believing the trees would watch over them. The story and song have a haunting quality which highlight Mike’s delicate fingerstyle arrangement and unadorned vocals. It was a pleasure to lend my voice to a carefully crafted arrangement of this beautiful song. I hope you enjoy!


2018-06-14 12:58:07 - James Reilly
I was one of those first band mates of Mike and we knew then he was the talent. Well done Mike and I am proud to still call you friend.
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