| Dowling’s playing and composing runs the gamut
from slide tunes evoking trips down the Mississippi to the energetic
Johnson City Rag. Dowling lives in northwestern Wyoming where he
operates the Wind River Guitar, a unique live-in guitar school. He has
also starred in three best selling instructional videos marketed
worldwide by Hal Leonard Publishing.
“One of the finest guitar players there is, anywhere”
~ ~ Vassar Clements
In the artist's words...
When I was first approached about doing an instrumental
guitar album for Solid Air Records the only direction he gave me was a
“rootsy bluesy” feel like my composition “Swamp Dog Blues” from the CD
of the same name. The producer loved “Swamp Dog Blues” and I thought,
“Well, looks like I have one tune in the bag anyway.”
Since I’m one
who tends to take artistic suggestions rather literally I considered
the task at hand in the context of where the stylistic boundaries might
be. After all, the “roots” moniker pushes the idiomatic door wide open,
but what about “blues”? Does it narrow the doorway or simply serve to
put a little creak in the hinges? While interesting to ponder, my
doorway analogy served up no suggestions for album material.
So, as the water rat I’ve sometimes been, I began to think about a
float trip down a muddy old river and how it might afford some
interesting diversions to quiet side channels and backwater sloughs. I
think of American roots music in much the same way, drawing its form
and volume from accumulated tributaries; some fast and clear running,
others roiled or slow seeping. But in the end, all channels are equally
buoyant for the drifter.
I hope in some small way the tunes in this collection will transport you somewhere “rootsy” and “bluesy.”
~ ~ Mike Dowling
Wild ‘Bout It
Johnson city Rag
Swamp Dog Blues
Mike Dowling BOTTOMLANDS SACD 2012 cD
from the magazine BLUESinBRITAIN
Here we have a set of thirteen solo acoustic guitar instrumentals performed
on both steel and wood bodied instruments. The liner notes end with Dowling
quoting "I hope in some small way the tunes in this collection will
transport you somewhere "rootsy and Bluesy". Dowling has certainly done
The whole atmosphere of this set is relaxed and low key, with a fascinating
set of titles chosen with great integrity. There is a mixture of both cover
numbers and original compositions, which all sit comfortably together.
During Dowlings long career he has performed a wide range of musical styles
including blues, vintage swing , jazz and ragtime, and all of those styles
and influences can be heard on this set. the guitar picking throughout is
clear, crisp, beautifully crafted and with a very distinctive sound, played
on a group of instruments that most of us players would die for including a
1928 Ntaional style O. There is a strong jazz atmosphere on "Nitpickin" ,
played on a superbly toned Martin M-36, where his admiration for the style
of Chet Atkins is quite clear. The much recorded classic "Amazing Grace"
has a stamp that is very much Dowling's own, and the slide version of
Stephen Foster's "Hard TImes" bring this set to a perfect close.
This is a very strong set from a man of consummate talent who enjoys and
loves what he does. He is an absolute professional and a man who is willing
to share his craft with others and I for one can't wait to see him on tour
here very soon.
Bismark Tribune - Entertainment
Dowling shares acoustic sunlight
by KEN ROGERS
Proof of Mike Dowling's style and grace on guitar can be found in his
newest recording, "Bottomlands" a collection of his bluesy instrumental
arrangements. On this release Dowlings fingerpicking is clean,
articulate and masterfully simple. There are no bad tracks on this
The CD opens full of sunlight and warmth with "Wild 'bout it" and
finishes with Dowling's arrangement of Stephen Fosters "Hard Times".
Its a CD with roots in the muddy brown water of southern backwaters.
Dowling leans on the "Swamp Dog Blues" to set the tone of
"Bottomlands". From the opening notes, "Swamp Dog Blues" captures the
listener , using a nice blend of drama and repetition. In "Rosalie"
Dowlings guitar actually walks and talks.
On "Bottomlands" Dowling employs four vintage guitars -- a 1928
National Tricone, 1936 National style O, 1979 Martin M-36 and 1933
National El trovador.
A listener can hear strains of blues, swing and ragtime in
"Bottomlands". While "Amazing Grace" might seem like an odd choice for
this collection of songs, Dowlings arrangement of the beloved but
overdone tune works just fine. The CD holds together from start to