Like a sip of good bourbon that burns a bit after one sniffs the sweet butterscotch aroma, Mike Killeen’s under-stated vocals allow his emotional and expressive lyrics to subtly bite the listener’s heart and mind. Poverty is Real, Mike Killeen’s third full-length album, drives that burn a bit harder with a result that is more pleasurable for it.
Released in the spring of 2011, Poverty is Real was produced by Will Robertson at Atlanta-based Gallop Studios. The album was picked up by Saturn 5 Records for re-release in 2015. The record is a more muscular presentation of Mike’s songwriting than found previously, with crunchy electric guitars and raucous crash cymbals appearing throughout. An album with this title might be considered preachy, however, Killeen never goes there, choosing instead compelling arguments and
emotions to influence the listener.
Originally from Athens, Georgia and now living in Decatur, Mike counts Bob Dylan, Vic Chesnutt, Nirvana, and Uncle Tupelo among his formative influences. He has shared the stage with southern rock legends, The Marshall Tucker Band, and Grammy Award winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama. He is a favorite at the Amplify Decatur concert series, and recently opened for Jay Farrar to a sold out room at the world famous Eddie’s Attic.
BeAtlanta.com called Poverty is Real, “a collection of beautiful arrangements and meaningful lyrics.” Film director Salvatore Alaimo
Featured the title track in his award winning documentary What is Philanthropy?, which also featured songs from Patti Smith and Ziggy Marley.
Mike’s first album, Guns Kill People, was produced by Mark Van Allen. The record opens with the electric guitars of Crippled Town, before settling into the pedal-steel-laden Searching for an Angel. Together, the first two tracks capture the spirited arrangements found throughout. Appearing on the album are Van Allen (Indigo Girls) on pedal steel, Mike Steel (Randall Bramlett band) on bass, and Claire Campbell (Hope For Agoldensummer) on backing vocals.
The following year, Mike released Demos, Outtakes, Live, and Whatnot Volume I: 2002-2006, a collection of songs recorded before the Guns Kill People album. The compilation includes Verb in E, which appeared on Vol. 2, No. 1 of Verb, an award-winning audioquarterly that features original fiction, poetry, and music.
Mike reconnected with Mark Van Allen to record and release Little. And Low.,an EP featuring five of Mike’s more melancholy songs. Baby Be True was recorded live at Full Moon Studios in Watkinsville, Georgia. Produced by Jay Rodgers, the album captures Mike’s songs in their rawest forms, supported only by acoustic guitar and harmonica.
Poverty is Real is available on Saturn 5 Records as physical copies, and for download on Amazon and iTunes, with streaming on Spotify.