US 32
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US 32

Ellicott City, Maryland, United States | SELF

Ellicott City, Maryland, United States | SELF
Band Americana Country

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US 32 are Michael and Christy Kline, a red-headed singer/songwriter duo from Ellicott City, Maryland (between Baltimore and DC). This husband-and-wife team have a unique sound that’s two parts Americana/AAA, with a dash of country and folk roots rock.

Songs like “Down In The Field,” “Chasin’ The Sun” and “If These Walls Could Talk” are prime airplay candidates, while the title track of their debut CD, “Tumblin’ Home,” is an homage to Civil War soldier (and relative) George F. Kline’s letter home. “My Great Great Uncle’s letter has been passed down through the family from one generation to the next,” says Michael. “He wrote the letter when he was 18 years old and four months, before he was wounded in the Battle Of The Wilderness at Spotsylvania Courthouse. He died shortly after at Harwood Hospital in Washington, DC, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. It was certainly an honor to write this tribute song with my brother Brian, my cousin Tim and Dillon O’Brian.”

You may remember Michael from his band Michael Kline & The Gypsys, whose mid-1990s EP Seeing the Circle was added to 110 radio stations. Michael and Christy met in 1999 and first began performing together at family functions, private parties and eventually gigs in the Baltimore area. Tumblin’ Home, which spanned both coasts, is their first recording together. “Christy and I would record the basic idea in our basement studio—the kids had to take their shoes off to walk on the floor above—and E-mail the tracks to hit songwriter and co-producer Denny Weston, Jr. (Doobie Brothers, Bone Shakers, Michael Kline & The Gypsys), in Los Angeles,” notes Michael. “Weston and bassist Trent Stroh (Eddie Money, Michael Kline & The Gypsys) would lay down the bass and drums, and then Denny would E-mail the rhythm tracks back and we would build the songs with co-producer John Suchy at The Sound Locker in Towson, Maryland. Then we sent the songs back to LA and Denny brought in an amazing group of studio musicians to add the finishing touches.”

Michael played acoustic guitar throughout Tumblin’ Home. He also took a turn on mandolin and banjo on “I’m Gonna Miss You” and the song “Tumblin’ Home.” Ace LA studio musician Stevie Blacke (Madonna, Matchbox 20, Beck) played fiddle and mandolin; Michael Munford, an East Coast bluegrass favorite, played banjo; two more LA aces, Ben Peeler (The Mavericks, Shelby Lynne, The Wallflowers) and Dave Pearlman (The Band, Hothouse Flowers, Michelle Shocked) played electric, acoustic and lap steel guitars, and pedal steel, respectively.

On singing with his wife, Michael explains that “there’s a timeless quality and a sense of connecting to something bigger than the two of us when we sing together. Christy’s honest and soulful Southern voice melts me every time. When, as a singer, I tap the spirit of a song I feel like something larger than life is flowing through me. That’s why I write and sing. That’s why I love Christy’s voice, and that’s why I feel blessed to share the stage with her.”

“To me,” says Michael about writing Tumblin’ Home, “great records are like movies: They take you on an emotional journey with relatable, honest characters who search through the ups and downs of life for some type of meaning.” The Klines collaborated with a cast of hit songwriters including Dillon O’Brian, whose songs have been recorded by Ringo Starr and Bonnie Raitt, among many others, and Monty Byrom of Big House, who has written hits with and/or produced Eddie Money, Bernie Taupin and ex-Eagle Don Felder.