“With any genre of music, no matter what side of the microphone you’re on, it’s connecting people,” says Michael Gaither. In an effort to relate to people through his music, the local singer-songwriter tells (often humorous) stories with his lyrics. His fan-favorite Americana folk track “Highway 17,” for instance, offers a hilarious perspective on bad drivers and horrible commutes.
And on his most recent release, 2012’s Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night, Gaither even tries to take the sting out of growing old with “Tell Me Where it Hurts.” “It’s really not a happy topic, but the title’s funny,” Gaither laughs. “In the first chorus I talk about how my wife has aspirin in her purse, in the second it’s Naproxen, and in the third it’s Vicodin. So it’s not a happy topic, but if you put some humor into it then it’s easier to take.” Despite Gaither’s knack for humor, the title track proves he can tell winsome nostalgic stories too. Anyone who’s ever been to a drive-in theater will appreciate the song, on which Gaither extols the virtues of the once-great American pastime. And the music video really evokes memories. “Starlite was a really common drive-in name, so I got all this public domain, B-movie footage, all the cheesy snack bar ads they used to run, and I got a bunch of signs from drive-in photographers, and we amassed it all into a video,” says Gaither. “It’ll take you back.” Whether his songs make listeners laugh or reminisce, Gaither just hopes to strike a chord. “No matter what you’re writing about, there’s going to be something in that song that connects with somebody,” he says. “If you can make them think, ‘Wow! I can relate to that,’ then that’s a
INFO: Michael Gaither will perform with Steve Kritzer at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 31. The Ugly Mug, 4640 Soquel Drive, Soquel. $10. 477-1341.