Singer-songwriter Mike Gutierrez-May has been entrenched in the folk scene for almost 30 years as a dedicated behind-the-scenes force. Since the mid 1980s, Mike promoted shows, booked coffeehouses, and supported underground artists.  He did everything to help the scene he loved so much- and now is the time for him to start supporting his own songwriting endeavors. With his single, “Imaginary Tomato” out in the world, Michael presents himself as an empathic and insightful folk songwriter. “My lack of confidence held me back in the past, but I never completely gave up on myself,” the Massachusetts-based artist reveals. “Once I started writing songs more consistently, however, I felt like I could make my contribution to music and songwriting.”

Mike is well on his way to making his hoped for impact. He is a singular and empathic storyteller with a nylon-string guitar and an endearingly playful vocal delivery.

He started college as a psychology major, but applied to the music department at George Mason University to study guitar which he has played since he was 16. Once accepted, he studied classical guitar at GMU with Larry Snitzler, a former student of classical guitar icon Andres Segovia. In time, Mike was lured away from a life in classical music by the satisfaction of songwriting, though to this day he plays his folk songs on a classical nylon string guitar.

In the early 1980s, Mike became immersed in the New England folk and acoustic music scene as a promoter, a booker, and an occasional performer. For two years, he managed the Peacock Coffeehouse in Jamaica Plain, Mass until it shut its doors in 1988. “Shortly after the coffeehouse closed, I recorded a demo tape of ten songs I had written, performed at some open mic showcases, and then promptly crawled back into my shell, not ready to do more than just that with my music,” Mike shares.

In 2008, Mike started to frequent the local open mic at the Catbird Café in South Weymouth, Massachusetts where he met host, Stephen Martin, who has performed on Mike’s three previous albums, and produced Drifting to The Right. That creatively fertile environment reignited Mike’s passion as songwriter and a performer, and he would go on to hone his craft through other, more regimented endeavors. For 12 years, Mike has participated in the February Album Writing Month (FAWM.org) challenge, and for four years he has participated in the Quiet Corner Songwriters Meetup, where all of the Drifting to The Right songs were workshopped and presented.

When asked about the creation of “Imaginary Tomato” he said, “This was inspired by arguments I would sometimes have and I would also imagine others had with their partners after going crazy related to something Trump said or did while he was president and the other partner having to calm them down. I was in DC visiting a friend shortly after Trump was elected and after passing the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, I had a very strong urge to throw a tomato at it, but then it would have to be an imaginary tomato so I wouldn’t get into too much trouble.”

Mike relays some hard-fought wisdom on album single, “I’m A Realist,” and here his unique vocal phrasing recalls Bob Dylan. The no-filler nine-song album concludes with an “Imaginary Tomato,” a catchy pop-rock track textured with sublime slide-guitar melodies. The song exudes a folk-punk sass centered around the lyrics: I threw an imaginary tomato at the Trump International Hotel, which speaks to so many people.

Mike shares: “With my music, I hope to open hearts. We all have the same dreams and aspirations, and I hope we can resist the tendency to shut down.” Up next, Mike is staying close to the songwriting and folk communities, growing as a writer and showcasing new material. Look for his performance on the Twilight Showcase this March which will be recorded and feature Drifting to The Right songs.

Listen to the album here:

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