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Mike Tramp

Cobblestone Street

Review by Gary Hill

Mike Tramp is best known as the lead singer for the metal band White Lion. One might expect his solo album to fall into the same category as the music for which that group is known. Well, that’s not the case. Other than the bonus track, which is a remake of the big hit from that band, there is really not a lot in common here. Overall, this is a very effective pop rock album that borders between folk, classic rock, singer/songwriter stuff and just good music. It might not be what’s expected from Mike Tramp, but it’s great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Cobblestone Street

The title track opens the album. It starts with some sound effects setting the scene. Then acoustic guitar based music enters and this feels very much like a rather folk oriented singer/songwriter tune. It’s quite an effective piece of music.

Caught in the Storm
Although overall one could lump this song into the same category as the opener, the arrangement really makes this one stand much taller. It’s got a lush arrangement and there’s some nautical magic in the lyrics and music. This is definitely one of the highlights of the set. It rocks out more than the opener as it continues, too.
New Day

Energetic folk rock is merged with country and some more AOR sounds on this tune. There are some Beatles like moments here. It’s an accessible tune, but for my money not as effective as the first two songs.

Ain't the Life I Asked For

Here we get basically an acoustic guitar based ballad. It’s got some blues and some country in the mix. It’s a cool tune that adds a different flavor to the set.  Somehow the more stripped back arrangement lends some character and credibility to the song. The arrangement gets a bit more involved later, but it’s more as icing on the cake.


This has more of a modern pop rock sound. It seems like the kind of tune that should be tearing up the radio these days. For my money it’s a little too formulaic, but it’s still very effective. There is a particularly tasty guitar solo in this thing.

We'll Be Alright

Now, this is set more in that modern pop rock vein, but it’s a ballad. It’s quite pretty and powerful. In fact, I’d chalk this up as one of my favorites here. It’s just magical.

Angel or Devil

Intricate acoustic guitar opens this up with some accompaniment. A drum beat joins and the track builds out from there. It’s energized, melodic and acoustic based. It’s also quite a nice number.  There is just a hint of blues on this thing. There is some great melodic guitar soloing present later in this one. There’s an infusion of energy and power later, too.

Find It in Your Heart

A nice change of pace, this is a piano based ballad. It’s pretty and very effective. It stays in that mode throughout. That makes it a nice hunk of variety. It’s also a great tune.

What Are You Gonna Do?

There’s a bit of a modern production vibe to this that is just slightly annoying. That said, the song is potent enough in terms of construction and delivery to overcome that fact. This is basically a modern alternative rock meets pop number. There are some strings later in the arrangement that border on “over the top,” but ultimately this lands far more on the great side than on the weak one.


Calliope sounds make up the main music premise here. One could say the arrangement is over the top and generic, but generic in terms of 1960s music. This kind of sound was common in the psychedelic era, but not so much today. It’s a thoughtful and slow moving ballad. Frankly, I think it works very well. I like it a lot.

When the Children Cry (2013 Acoustic Version)

The White Lion classic gets an acoustic reworking here. This is still an effective song, but I’d say in this setting it seems a little one-dimensional. Still, it’s pretty and it is a “bonus track,” after all.

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