Michael Jahncke

Songwriter/artist

Wyatt Grayson – Words and Music

It was probably in 1965.  I was down in the basement in our home near the railroad tracks in Bridgeport, Michigan.  ‘She Loves You’ came on the radio and I think ever since then I’ve had music stuck in my head.  I’d noticed music before, opera my parents would play, things I’d hear now and then on the radio or a jukebox, The Everly Brothers, The Four Seasons, Lesley Gore, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson.  But for some reason, the Beatles (and later Bob Dylan) made me want to not just listen, but to play and write myself.

Over the years I’ve written a ton of songs, some performed by myself or groups I was in between 1968 and the mid-1980’s, some published, but most piling up and gathering dust in my private portfolio.  There was a period of approximately 13 years, from 1987 to 2000, that I did almost nothing with music apart from an ad hoc gig with old friends or new acquaintances.  This coincided with my work in the U.S. Foreign Service.  I guess it just turned out to be a long sabbatical.

It was in Budapest around 2000 that I began to write again, like crazy.  Without analyzing it, I know at that time for different reasons both psychological and spiritual, that I needed to get stuff out of my head and my heart, and my desire to make music sort of woke up again.  As my song list grew, I needed a way to get them out of my head so I wouldn’t forget them.  I began going to recording studios (first in Budapest and later in Washington, D.C. and Toronto), where I’d sit in front of a mic with the ‘tape rolling’ and lay down track after track with my acoustic.  It didn’t break the bank to do that, but it wasn’t cheap.

When I moved to Berlin in 2006, I began to home record.  This allowed me to save stuff to digital files on my computer in the comfort of my own digs, but I was never comfortable with the quality of my home recordings, nothing I felt comfortable to share as examples of my songwriting (even though I did).  Then, in 2011, with my wife’s encouragement, I sent some things off to a professional studio (Magic Shack Productions in Nashville)  to have demos made.  From the first mix that came back to me, it was apparent that this was a whole new level of making music.  Most of all, I began to feel good about sharing it with others.  Since then, I’ve been having songs ‘pitched’ through an agency in Nashville to major recording artists with the hopes that someone might hear something they’d like to record.  The idea, of course, is that some hot, popular singer will do one of my songs, sell a million, and there you go.  LOL.  Something like that.  Honestly, it’s just been fun, encouraging, invigorating, stimulating, all those things, just to be doing something like this.  Actually putting stuff out into the mainstream to see what happens.  And it’s encouraged me to write better, challenging myself, trying to one-up my last thing.

So now I have a number of professionally-produced demos, and besides having them pitched, nothing else is happening with them.  So I decided to set up a site on Reverbnation and post the songs there for sale as digital downloads.  This batch happens to all be country, both classic and contemporary.  There’s something about country music for me, very ‘American,’ and all the time I’ve been away from home, it’s become like a connection for me with the people in the towns on the back roads of the USA.  Besides that, it’s historic connection to folk (which I’ve played a lot of), and in my background the music of the Everly Brothers, The Byrds, Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc., all who took turns introducing me to different country styles and caused me to look past them to the roots of country music and Americana, bluegrass, Appalachian, country western; George Jones, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, so many influences right up to contemporary country, which I’m trying to get more into.

Now my plan is, as this blog develops, to devote individual posts to each song I have on Reverbnation for download.  I’ll tell a little something about each one and write out the lyrics.  And, if you find your way here, maybe you will not only enjoy what you’re hearing but you’ll enjoy reading the lyrics, too.  I hope so.  Sometimes they tell a story, sometimes they express a feeling.  However they come out, since that time in the basement with the sun streaming through the window back in 1965, it’s just something I’ve had to do.

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