With a natural, bone-deep twang that turns all of his songs into country songs (though he often sports a folkie’s knack for lyrical detail or a rock & roller’s intensity), Messick took his first shot at the Texas country-rock scene while still in college at Texas A&M University, making himself an open-mic mainstay before starting up a band best described as “country music for the hearing impaired”.
With the help of producers Stormy Cooper and Aaron Holt, Messick recorded and released his first CD, Bootlegger’s Turn, in early 2007. With limited promotion the album received significant airplay anyway, in and around several medium-to-large Texas radio markets as well as worldwide on internet and international stations. “American Steel”, “Kings of Juarez”, and other tracks from the album caught on with listeners, and other artists including the Gougers, Big John Mills, Ben Morris, and Josh Langston included Messick’s songs in their own shows and projects.
With time Messick scored opening slots or even song-swap gigs alongside the likes of Randy Rogers, Hayes Carll, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Mike McClure, the John Evans Band, Adam Carroll, and Cory Morrow. He found new audiences in venues like Cheatham Street Warehouse, Momo’s, and Riley’s Tavern and a new community of musicians when he made the move to Austin in late 2007; within a couple of years the seed was planted for his newest project, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. Recorded in Austin’s legendary Cedar Creek Studio with backup by an array of artists including producer Adam Odor, folk band The Trishas, steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines, songwriting buddy Mark Jungers, and pickers on loan from Reckless Kelly and Hayes Carll’s band, the album expands upon the promise of Messick’s debut with a mix of stone country twang, soulful singer/songwriter grit and hard-charging American rock. The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday … but Mike Ethan Messick’s tomorrow looks pretty promising.