Black Music Matters Festival

Mike and Amy Finders Band

Where You Are – 2004 (Neighborly)

Reviewed by David McPherson

CDs by Mike and Amy Finders Band

Mike and Amy Finders, a husband and wife songwriting team from Iowa City, Ia., offer a little twang, a little back-porch bluegrass and a dose of blues filled with buckets of soul.

These soulful songsmiths romp and roll through 11 unplugged songs that feature acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica and stand-up bass with the occasional fiddle, banjo or Dobro thrown in. "Adeline" is the best song showcasing both of the Finders' fine vocals; it's no surprise to learn that this song won the 2004 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in North Carolina in the Bluegrass Category. The sweet harmonies on the chorus combine with the sound of the meandering mandolin. The Finders take turns at the mic - sharing lead-singing duties and harmonizing throughout. "Chuck Brown" is a bluegrass boogie that Mike sings with a playful lilt. Amy serves up an old time country cover of the Harlan Howard and Billy Walker classic "I'm Down to my Last Cigarette." "Oregon" - one of the other highlights - features some accomplished Dobro that drives this journey song of a guy searching for a new life in a new town. The song ends with Mike's confessional that he never left Iowa: "It makes me stay/ when all the old folks say/ wherever you stay/ that's where you are."

The album closes with another classic cover - MerleHaggard's "I'm Bringin' Home Good News." (Mike and Amy Finders)