A tinkerer, an eccentric, an alchemist — the Michael Yonkers of my imagination is in a room of detritus and scattered cranks, whistles, pulleys, and chain links. There are curious inventions and abandoned contraptions strewn across the floorboards. Yesterday’s inspiration lies aborted and beautiful next to today’s. There is no apparent order to this space but, at least in my version of his life, he sits on a stool in the corner of a cavernous workshop wearing week-worn clothes with a guitar in his hand and a tape recorder on his table. There’s some seriously blissed-out rockabilly loner-folk bouncing between the walls. Where one song is as ethereal and fuzzy as an English acid-rock dirge, the next has the punch and shake of Buddy Holly or early Elvis. Though unapologetic about its idiosyncrasy, this record is altogether catchy, approachable, and hummable. If it weren’t for the pervading spookiness of his off-kilter vocal layering, I might even call it danceable. I’m definitely going to explore this guy some more; supposedly in the mid-70’s he released a trio of folk albums — Grimwood, Goodby Sunball and Michael Lee Yonkers — that stand in stark contrast to his theretofore established proto-garage styling. Lovely Gold’s release date is set for March 23 on Drag City — take a listen.
[ download ] Lovely Gold