Front Porch Philosophy
Mike Cullison

“Front Porch Philosophy" is an acoustic recording of eleven songs written by Mike with some classy country backing including guitars, dobro, mandolin, upright bass, percussion, great songs and great vocals. It's a most enjoyable reminder of the way country music used to be.”

Ken MacLeod


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What started out as a, “wanting to do a demo session”, turned into a full fledged recording of a new cd.

Mike Cullison had six or seven songs he wanted to get demos on. These songs were a scattered mix of country, blues and Americana. Good songs that for some reason didn’t fit in on any of his previous projects. Being a demo session, Mike though it would be fun and cost effective to just put all of the musicians in the same room and turn on the recorder. That idea carried over into “Front Porch Philosophy.” Mike wrote three additional songs and an acoustic adventure from West Texas to a Big Legged Woman was born. The two day session recorded live at the Art Institute of Tennessee- Nashville Recording Studio by the Advanced Recording Techniques class, harkened back to the days when this was how it was done. No overdubs, just start at the top and go. No amps, no pedals, no tricks, six guys putting it all together to make one great sound.

Mike Cullison’s roadmap into the recording industry may be somewhat unorthodox yet in many ways suggests a quite sensible approach given the meagre pickings and competition in an industry that suffers from increasingly over saturation levels. His debut album, recorded in 2004, coincided with his retirement after 32 years continuous employment with The Bell Telephone Company. Originally from Oklahoma he combined his nine to five job with song writing and performances and with music running through his veins even relocated to Atlanta during his career to be closer to Nashville. He finally made the final leg of his journey to the Music City in 1995 and currently enjoys the good life with the mundane forty hour a week career a distant memory and his current status as a performing and recording artist the ideal (semi) retirement.

Front Porch Philosophy is his fifth recording and follows the same template as his previous albums, telescopic observations of people, their actions and mannerisms considered, studied and moulded into stories that eventually become songs.

Kicking off the album with West Texas State Of Mind one could be forgiven for drawing comparisons with another elder statesman and Nashville resident Mr. John Prine.  Ain’t Enough Whiskey heads in an old timey Hank Williams lost highway direction. Front porch music would not sit comfortably with the absence of lost love and is represented solidly by  I Can’t Throw Stones while To God and Back, a delightful love song, characterises the flip side of that coin. If you’re going to include a tender love song and a love lost song on an album there has to be room for something in between and Big Legged Woman ticks that box famously. The title suggested a blues number before I even played the track and blues it is – closing the album in style. The blues is also well represented by Dorothy’s Shoes with its rootsy bluesy jam intro.

The album was recorded live at the Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville Recording Studio with the design and photography on the album created by students at Ai TN. The playing throughout is top drawer with the wonderful guitar work by Mark Robinson particularly impressive.  It’s a cosy and charming album and we can thank the stars that Cullison chose a musically creative retirement rather than investing all his hours tending to the back garden and other somewhat less creative pastimes.

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West Texas State Mind
Family Man
Dorothy’s Shoes
I Can’t Throw Stones
Little Bit of Trouble
Ain’t Enough Whiskey
The Devil Sitting Next To Me
This Disguise
Just That Little Thing
To God and Back
Big Legged Woman

The Songs:

West Texas State of Mind
I was thinking about an old friend out in West Texas. One thought led to anotherand a little story started to come about. A fun little song with a West Texas attitude.

Family Man
I was at a local fund raiser last summer. I was watching the young “fathers” and how they were interacting with their kids, playing, watching etc…I thought , Family Man, now there’s a job. I had the good fortune of roping Jeremy Dean in on a co write. Took us about three hours.

Dorothy’s Shoes
The Dorothy I am referring to is the young lass from, The Wizard of Oz. Just click your heels and things change. The intro chords I had from a writing session many moons ago. Just stuck with me. Nothing fancy.

I Can’t Throw Stones
“You can”t throw stones,” is a saying I have heard all my life. It was a natural fit for a song like this.I sat down in the kitchen one day and wrote it.

Little Bit of Trouble
This idea came from four guys sipping on beer waiting for a gig to start, watching the ladies.Someone makes the comment that a certain lady could get him in a lot of trouble. Someone else comes back with, “ I could use a little bit of trouble”. This song has been in wings for 10 years or so. Wrote this with Mark Robinson.

Ain’t Enough Whiskey
A friend of mine gave me this hook. I waited over a year for him to sit down with me and write it. He said he wasn’t a writer and to go ahead and do it. Thanks Jeremy.

The Devil Sitting Next to Me
Wrote this one with Dan Seymour. I had some of the lyric going so we jumped on it one day and worked it up. Fun song, about things always going wrong. I know guys like this.

This Disguise
Another song from the catalogue. A little different crying in your beer song.The guys did a great job with the feel of this.

Just That Little Thing
As a writer I get to write about how I feel and hope there are others who feel the same. Love is a great thing, might as well have fun with it.

To God and Back
Mike Stergis and I worked on this song for a long time. Then we let it sit for a while and we’d work on it some more. Then it would sit. Finally got enough of it together to finish and record. A different way to say “I love you”.

Big Legged Woman
Mark Robinson and I wrote this a few years ago. We wanted a gut bucket blues song, simple but strong.She is not for the feint of heart.


Mike Cullison- Vocals
Mark Robinson – Acoustic Guitar, Resonator Guitar, Dobro
Dave Isaacs – Mandolin and Acoustic Guitar
Brian Langlinais – Acoustic Guitar
Daniel Seymour – Upright Bass
Pat McInerney – Percussion
Brian Langlinais, Dave Isaacs, Mark Robinson – Backup Vocals

Special thanks to the following:
Faculty at The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville
Greg Chapman – President
Philip Lacy – Media Arts Department
Tim Hall – Audio Department
Todd Browning – Graphic Design Department
John Collins – Photography Department
Executive Producer – Mark Robinson
Assistant Producers – Brad Whitehead, Todd Siebert
Mastering Engineer – Keith Compton
Mixing Engineer – Todd Siebert
Student Audio Engineers – Harrison Broughton,Josh Brandon, Brandon Smith, Zack Smith, Jimmy Williams
Photography – Corrie Studyvin
Graphic Design – Alexis Agbunag Jones

Thanks to The Fontanel and Natchez Hills Winery staff for their hospitality on site.

Recorded live in the Art Institute of Tennessee- Nashville recording Studio by the Advanced Recording Techniques class. The audio, design and photography for this project were done by students at Ai TN.


© 2016 Mike Cullison, all rights reserved






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