FEATURED EVENT: Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds that eventually took off
Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds is coming to Lamplight Aug. 25
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Mike Clark had an interesting path to being a full-time musician. He worked as a land surveyor for 23 years, and had nearly given up on his band The Sugar Sounds, when one particular song started to blow up on Spotify. It was included in a playlist and brought the band enough interest that he could focus on being a full-time musician.
That was 2017, and since then Mike Clark has been on a tear, touring the country with his throwback rock/soul sound.
That song, by the way, was Smooth Sailin’. It’s now their No. 1 song on Spotify, with nearly 3.5 million plays on the streaming platform, more than 2 million more than their next most popular song.
See it below (oddly there’s no music video or live video - there are for other Mike Clark songs):
Clark himself has no idea why that particular song landed as opposed to his other songs, he told Tahoe Weekly, but he was happy to give folks more of that they want.
In some ways the song is emblematic of what Mike Clark is all about - a little bit throwback rock, a little soul groove. The instrumentation of the band is interesting - guitar, keyboard, sax and drums, though most of the time, including in his upcoming Lamplight Sessions show, he plays as a duo with this drummer.
Though some degree of fame hit in 2017, Clark has been playing since 2007, and recorded his first album in 2013. Early on he got to know Willy Tea Taylor, who has also played at Lamplight Sessions and at Isherwood Hall. The two struck up a friendship and even recorded a song together.
He actually got his start in music while touring the west coast in mountain bike races. A fellow mountain biker had brought along a guitar, and Clark then bought himself a harmonica, later taking up the guitar, banjo, mandolin and violin, according to Tahoe Weekly.
As far as his songwriting process, he said in that same publication:
“Everything is packaged in a 3-minute pop song for me,” he says. “If it’s got three hooks, I know it’s going to do pretty well. I write songs about living in Pueblo and the gun violence there. I write love songs about the way I feel. I write about the struggle of all the people before me trying to keep their families warm. And I write a lot of songs about coffee.”
This will be a fun act at Lamplight Sessions, which is becoming one of the major hot spots of talented music in central Wisconsin.
Mike Clark and the Sugar Sounds | Lamplight Sessions | Aug. 25. 7 pm, doors open at 6 pm.