Recordings

Mike’s  composition and performance ranges across four sonic traditions: classicalclass-grass (a hybrid of classical and grassroots traditions), songs, and tunes.

Classical

How to describe Mike’s classical compositions? Not “modern,” certainly. He is too fond of tunes for that. Not “postmodern,” either. He does not direct his music toward solipsistic statements. Rather, he describes his musical purpose as the delight of engagement – that is, communication through the shared of something that renews the cultural conversation.

Call it a participatory sound. Call it the sensibilities of the grassroots musician, which is where he began his musical life, singing and playing in a family band with his father, two brothers, and an older cousin. Or call it what he prefers to term it. Not modern. Not postmodern. Not anti-modern. Rather, dialogic music – that is, classical music which is in conversation with performers and audiences about our future pasts and past futures.

A list of works can be found HERE, with links to some of the sheet music. Write to Mike for performance and recording rights.

A few samples of his classical works are in the playlist below.

Class-Grass

What is “class-grass” music? Classical music you can tap your foot to. Bluegrass with music stands. A new variety of Americana music. Tunes that appeal to the head, warm the heart, and shake the bones. What the award-winning band Graminy does on stage and in four albums.

All of these things.

You can find out more about Graminy’s music, and its tour dates, HERE.  But you can also sneak a listen below.

Songs

Mike’s songs focus on social and environmental themes, in an “Americana” style that draws on jazz, folk-rock, and grassroots traditions. At one of his uplifting performances, expect guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Expect songs of passion, of struggle, of justice, of care for one another and the planet – and of humor. Expect to leave with melodies that stay in your head and messages that stay in your heart.

He also sometimes perform his songs as part of the Elm Duo, a duet with his daughter, Eleanor Mayerfeld, a vocalist and former Wisconsin State Fiddle Champion.

A list of songs can be found HERE, with links to the sheet music. Mike grants free performance rights for all of these songs, but you’ll need to write to him for recording rights.

A few samples of his many songs are in the playlist below.

Tunes

It’s just something that happens. Mike picks up his mandolin or his banjo, and a new “fiddle tune” leaps out. (Fiddle tunes happen.) Reels, jigs, waltzes, airs, klezmer tunes, or  “rocking reels,” a new genre that Mike often writes with his daughter, Eleanor Mayerfeld. (He loves to write fiddle tunes with others during jam sessions.)

Mike has played with many barn dance bands – The Fiddleheads, Froggie on the Carport, the Barn Owl Band, Noise of the Boys, Fiddlasaurus Rex, and now most frequently Thirsty Roots (the dance music incarnation of Graminy). Most of these tunes were written for those bands.

His fiddle tunes have been recorded by many artists, including Swallowtail, Wild Asparagus, Skip Healy, the Barn Owl Band, and Graminy.

Have a listen below to some of the samples. Sheet music for many of the tunes is available for free download HERE. Mike grants free performance rights for all of these tunes, but you need to write to him for recording rights.