Born and raised in the same part of Florida that spawned such names as Sister Hazel and Tom Petty, Mike Llerena’s musical journey began as a teen. Having developed an ear for the time-tested folksy sounds of Bruce Springsteen as well as the more urgent punk melodies, Mike found himself straddling the two extremes stylistically. So brace for brash poetry, gritty vocals, aggressive shredding interspersed with moments of acoustic clarity, brace for introspective wailing mixed with political railing.
During his adolescence is when the budding artist first picked up a guitar and started covering his favorite tunes. A couple of years later, as his confidence grew, Mike graduated to live shows around his Gainesville hometown. By 2014 he had accrued enough original material to record and publish his first EP, ‘Gold Gone Black‘. A year later he followed up that effort with his ‘Letter of Resignation‘. Far from a parting shot, the 5-song recording was a statement of intent, solidifying his stance in a sub-genre he had created for himself. Songs like ‘Hope Is A Gateway Drug’ put Mike’s quirky songwriting in its most glorious light. And they earned him subsequent invitations to events like Gainesville’s annual punk rock celebration, The Fest. Download the album, it’s one delightfully raw listen.
Fast forward to 2017 and Mike is getting ready to deliver his latest EP, ‘Absence & The Heart’. Like in his previous two releases, Mike has handled pretty much everything except the drums and part of the production. Brad Purvis and TJ Baker, trusted friends, helped out on the skins and engineer Jared Pennock gave a hand in the production department. The first of the singles from the album is ‘Rosanna’, a plea to a woman who has turned his world upside down to “give me what I want, coz all I want is you.” If the classic rock rhythms in this tune don’t convince you to keep tabs on Mike, I don’t know what will.