Mick Lawson alias Emmitt Till
It is the journey that is important - Zen. It is this attitude which has resulted in many changes in Emmitt's songwriting and performing career. Following in the footsteps of his many mentors (Dylan, Springsteen, Cohen), lyrics have always been of the utmost importance to him. The journey began in the late 60's when this young musician from Birmingham, together with writer and musician Tony Hulme signed with Phonogram Records to produce their first set of songs on the acoustic album 'Evensong' selling over 30,000 copies in the UK alone. They were managed by Ronan O'Reily and Jim Houlihan from Radio Caroline. Emmitt's stagecraft was enhanced by a six month tour of the USA, driving thousands of miles playing three universities and High Schools a day, from the big cities of New York and Detroit to the backwoods of the Northwest up to Canada. The pinnacle of this tour for Emmitt was performing at Bob Dylan's old school in Hibbing Minnesota and becoming good friends with Bob's uncle who showed him photographs and video footage never seen before or since from the leader of a generation. His experiences on this tour were both bizarre and frightening. Further tours followed throughout Europe alongside artists such as David Bowie, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis culminating in a 30 date tour with the Strawbs who were No. 1 in the album charts with Bursting at the Seams. With just acoustic guitars for company Evensong performed at most major venues in Europe from the Albert Hall to his favourite Dublin Stadium. In the late 70's Emmitt came back to England for time out to reflect and unite body and soul. A chance meeting with producer Ron Lee at his recording studios in the West Midlands produced a new direction. Emmitt, backed by a nine piece rock-blues band, produced by Ron, went into the studio and recorded three self-penned hard hitting explosive albums. This resulted in a 30-minute live TV show at the Theatre De L'empire Paris for Antoine De Caunes (Eurotrash) featuring Bruce Springsteen. After this prime time TV show - Chorus, which was broadcast throughout Europe Emmitt made the charts in France resulting in enormous sales and a cult following. A video of the show is now in the posession of Spirit Records. Just as his career was reaching new heights Mick Lawson alias Emmitt Till dropped out, bewildered by the insensitivity and manipulation which can occur within the business side of the industry. 'I was dealt more bad deals than a blind poker player'. With the help of family and friends he built his own recording studio and amassed a store of new material resulting in a stunning album 'Down to Earth' on his own label Spirit Records. The single taken from this album 'White Man Come' a saga of suppression of ethnic races by rapacious white colonialism met with great critical acclaim from both media and audiences at live performances with the Backyard Band. The next project 'The Story of Outlaw Jones' took Emmitt back to his acoustic roots forming a band comprising of percussion, stand up bass, fiddle and guitars to go into the studio to produce a quirky home grown sound which is a big part of his live performance today. 'Asylum' is an album inspired by his work over the last few years with patients from the North Birmingham Mental Health Trust. We believe this is another indication of the continuing creativity which makes Mick Lawson alias Emmitt Till very special to us all at Spirit Records.