Jaime Michaels | The Man With the Time Machine

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The Man With the Time Machine

by Jaime Michaels

"This guy sounds like he used his time machine to find the vibe Dylan plugged into as he segued in 'Nashville Skyline'"...Chris Proctor-Midwest Record
Genre: Folk: Progressive Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. wish on the moon
3:31 album only
2. the man with the time machine
3:52 album only
3. black river
4:54 album only
4. eyes front
3:52 album only
5. federal pen
3:09 album only
6. sweeping the spotlight away
3:23 album only
7. wild and precious thing
4:22 album only
8. haunted
3:42 album only
9. china dog
3:35 album only
10. when the sun comes out over ireland
3:10 album only
11. lullaby (for natanya)
3:05 album only


Album Notes

Just Voted "ALBUM OF THE YEAR" 2010/11 NM Music Industry Awards

when i was a kid just learning how to play the guitar, i discovered the cat who would become my all time favorite inspiration, boston folkie tom rush. long before even the beatles and dylan entered my musical consciousness, tom was THE major influence. i remember sitting in my room next to the radio on sunday nights listening to a boston folk show called “dick summer’s subway”, hoping that dick would play tom’s version of joni mitchell’s “urge for going” so i could grab another line or two. of course, i didn’t know it was joni…that was the beauty of tom rush, he would find these amazing songs from new writers. and that’s the thing i learned from tom that’s still with me all these years later…the song…it’s all about the song. communicating it…serving it…being in it…
it’s why jono and i work well together. that’s always been jono’s approach to recording. what’s good for the song? it’s all about the song.
i’m one of those writers who feels incredibly blessed to be able to do this. i have no idea where the songs come from. all i know is every once in a while i get to channel them into this realm…


wish on the moon
this one is also as the SWRFA song. when you attend the southwest regional folk alliance soiree one of the stops during registration is a song assignment fishbowl filled with fortune cookie-like slips of paper. you pick one out and that’s your songwriting assignment for the weekend if you so choose. they are mostly written by dalis’ assistant emily rae lively, thus the co-write. mine said “midnight, lamplight, treelight, starlight”. when i wrote the song i was thinking about the crossroads at the kerrville festival where folks gather in a large circle under the streetlights and sing and dance into the morning…

the man with the time machine
this is one of several songs on the album that came out of the song school at the rocky mountain folks festival in Colorado. the only class i attended for the whole four days was an open tuning class taught by jonatha brooke where i picked up the “C over open G” tuning used in this song . this one is a case of the song wanting to be what it wanted to be. the original idea was writing about my ability to disappear at parties when i get uncomfortable (which is usually). i had a whole verse leading up to the line “i’m the man with the time machine”, what i thought was pretty clever stuff. while taking a pause in the writing i was looking at the program for the upcoming festival and saw a picture of the headliner, john prine. in an “oh yeah, right” moment i crossed out my very clever writerly verses and started over with “i’m the man with the time machine” as the first line….the song became something entirely different than i had intended, more of a poem/painting of loss that can’t be changed…
black river
the story behind this one is pretty much laid out in the liner notes on the single. but here’s the way that jono wound up as the co-writer. my wife, deborah, mary ray and jono all loved the song but hated the original ending, which was :
i’ve got this feeling in my heart between forgiveness and a sin
when it comes to right and money, why does money always win?”…

they felt, rightly, that up to that point i was telling this fisherman’s story. they felt it lost its punch when i veered off into politics. so i changed it to:
i’ve got this feeling in my heart between forgiveness and a sin
as my children take my trembling hands, i don’t know where to begin

jono, in his inimitable jono way, said “begin what?? he’s not starting over, he’s trying to figure out how to continue…it should be something like ‘the tide keeps rolling in’…the ‘sin’ rhyme is already there…”
“yup”, says i

eyes front
as i get further into my 60’s (we don’t need to mention that), i find that looking backwards can be a real distraction especially if it’s the” looking back at which road you took at the various crossroads of your life” type…there’s a great word, “confabulate”. miriam webster defines it as “to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication”…you can really get hung up on woulda shoulda coulda what if?.....jeff scroggins’ banjo was a happy accident much like john popper winding up on “wish on the moon”, they just happened to be working in the studio with jono on other projects…

federal pen
this is the only song i’ve ever written that is entirely someone else’s lyric, in this case my song school mate bill kahler. i’m not sure he’d want the story told, though. i heard him sing the tune in a late night song circle and really liked it. after i got home from song school i asked him to send it to me. upon further listening i realized that bill had inadvertently lifted the melody from steve earle’s “tennessee blues “ pretty much note for note…he was very happy when i pointed out that out, saving him some major embarrassment as he already had it recorded . he asked if i’d attempt a rewrite.
in another aside, i was sitting down in jono’s studio to record the tune when i noticed kevin trainor’s national steel guitar sitting on a stand in the corner…made the tune for me.

between you and me (again, i don’t think it needs publication), several women have told me they really dislike the tune, including mary ray. mary says it’s a guy song. i actually felt compelled to come up with a funny intro (this is a love song…well, actually a love slash prison song…well, really a love slash prison slash arson song but no one was harmed in the writing..” etc…
i’ve done some informal surveys and women either really like it or REALLY don’t…

sweeping the spotlight away
this is a song i’ve been singing since canadian songwriter murray mclauchlan’s album of the same name came out in ’74 (shhhhhh…). it’s a tune that references the old circus clown emmett kelly , one of my childhood heroes. my father had the saddest eyes of anyone i’ve ever known. emmet’s character weary willie had the same eyes. i really think that’s why i was (and still am) drawn to the character and the song. well, that plus the fact that it’s a hell of a tune. i jumped on an elevator with murray at last year’s folk alliance in memphis and told him i was recording his song and just wanted to meet him and make sure it was OK. he couldn’t have been nicer, especially since i was basically stalking him….

wild and precious thing
jeff talmadge and i have been friends for over a decade ever since we both lost a songwriting contest at the tucson folk festival to a woman who’d written a song about PMS. i think he’s a brilliant songwriter. this tune is one he wrote for his daughter when she left home for college.

i owe jeff for this one. the first line is something i said to him in a conversation. he replied “if you don’t write that down and use it,i’m going to.” this is another one of the song school tunes. i spent a couple of days just sitting on a folding chair in a meadow, moving the chair to follow the shade, working on this song. this is also one of those “the song took me somewhere other than i thought” tunes. it originally was a lot darker. and jeff added a few great lines.

china dog
the first person i ever met at a folk alliance conference was an arizona via new york songwriter named pat maloney. he and his wife rosie kept tossing over hershey’s kisses from the opposite table in the exhibit hall. he’s since become a close friend and one of my all time favorite writers. pat’s one of those guys that’s in and out of show biz. he’s been out for a few years. i recently heard some of his newest tunes. i can’t wait for him to get back in!

when the sun comes out over ireland
what can i say? i LOVE jono and george’s songs. i’ve been wanting to record this one for a while. it has jono on harmony & tenor guitar and george on mandolin. i hope to get to sing it in ireland some time.

lullaby (for natanya)
this is one of those rare times (for me anyway) that a song was born fully formed in one sitting. jono’s daughter, natanya, was due in about a month i was working in my home studio on the tune “eyes front” and took a little break. i was just noodling around on the guitar, sang the first line and voila, the universe gifted me with this sweet lullaby…. it was one of the true joys ever in my musical life to play it for jono and caline. (and i finally got to sing it to natanya today! not a dry eye in the house)

REVIEWS OF the man with the time machine

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

“Jaime Michaels occupies a zone somewhere between Paul Simon (Wish on the Moon is pure joyous Graceland—Blues Traveler's John Popper helping in no small degree in that regard), Al Stewart, and Harry Chapin, all silhouetted by a purpling sunset on the horizon drawing down classic prairie, swamp, and Appalachian refrains. He tackles Murray McLauchlan's Sweeping the Spotlight Away to excellent effect just after a wistfully balladic chronicle of a loser caught by circumstance time and again (Federal Pen).
The Man with the Time Machine is a CD for the days when you're tired of clangorous rock and roll—yeah, even the mellifluous giddy-up of the Doobies—and just feel like sitting back, reflecting on times past while wondering what the other guy goes through in his own daily grind. There's a shoe shuffler or two—the aforementioned Wish on the Moon, China Dog, etc.—but, like all folkies, Michaels watches the side currents of life, not the hurtlingly frantic noise and images, far more the missed opportunities, the mistakes, the wrinkles in the heart. We may be living through the 21st century, but work like his takes us back to a Mayberry that's a lot scruffier around the edges, an indeterminate era when our fantasies about such things danced a little differently than a magazine cover might indicate.
This CD won't jump up and roar at you nor will it lay at your feet for a snooze, but it will provide a harbor in the storm of the routine, a place where you can take your shoes off, get a little misty-eyed, and re-assess things you once thought settled and understood. There are elements you missed, and Jaime Michaels has peeked around the corner to take note of them. That's really what folk music is for and The Man with the Time Machine does just as the title implies: turns back the pages to re-color the moods and memories all of us hurried past, now wondering how on Earth we could have missed it all.”
A review written for Midwest Record
by Chris Proctor
“This guy sounds like he used his time machine to find the vibe Dylan plugged into as he segued in Nashville Skyline. With a collection of alt.hitmen backing him up, Michaels is on point with a sweet folk flavored set that does a great job of hitting all the right notes along the way. A sneakily wonderful album, this is going to grab hold of acoustic music fans and not let go. Check it out.”



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