With his honey-warm voice and earthy, uplifting lyrics, Seattle-based singer/songwriter Michael Tomlinson’s songs comfort the weary soul. Drawing upon folk, smooth jazz, and Americana, Tomlinson’s songs unfold with an easygoing charm and crystalline clarity, driven by his moving, poetic narratives. Tomlinson’s latest album, The Way Out West, ﬁnds him reﬂecting on his life, how the experiences of his past have taught him compassion and helped him appreciate the stunning beauty of his beloved Paciﬁc Northwest.
The Way Out West could be seen as a journal of the two decades of his life since Tomlinson left his home in Austin, Texas, and made Seattle his home. On the cover, Tomlinson is seen in silhouette holding his guitar as he walks among bold outlines of trees; the brilliant blue of the sky lending a sense that he is embarked on a new beginning. The title track describes the grief of leaving all he knew behind, while the wind-swept strains of “Seattle Skies” conveys his life long love of changing seasons and natural elements.
Tomlinson moved to Washington State after a homemade cassette of his song, “The Climb,” became the most-requested track of all time on popular Seattle FM radio station, KEZX. The station had developed its ownprogressive music format that would eventually become known as Adult Album Alternative (AAA), and Tomlinson’s friendly hybrid of folk and rock, with a jazz-inﬂected vocal delivery, was greeted with wide enthusiasm. Inspired by the smashing reception from KEZX and its listeners, Tomlinson recorded and self-released his debut LP, Run This Way Forever. Made available through his Desert Rain label, the record sold 15,000 copies in its ﬁrst month in Seattle. It eventually moved over 100,000 units nationally as other independent radio stations began adding cuts from the album in high rotation.