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CD Reviews: Michael Tolcher
Michael Tolcher: I Am
May 2004
By: Blair Bryant
album cover of Michael Tolcher's I Am

Some people know early on in life what path to take. Some may be on one path but later end up on another, which ultimately shapes them into the person they are destined to become. Both can be said for singer/songwriter Michael Tolcher.

Beginning his journey as a musician at an early age singing in a church choir, Tolcher spent many years honing his craft as a musician, from setting out cross-country performing at clubs and bars, to his home state during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, to even performing at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. The Lovejoy, Georgia native's years of hard work paid off as he had the opportunity to tour with label mates Maroon 5 and Michelle Branch for the Virgin College Mega Tour in the Spring of 2004.

Tolcher's debut, I Am, released on Octone Records, is an impressive first album for this industry up-and-comer. The opening track, Sooner Or Later, gives listeners a general idea of his style, which is reminiscent of that of Duncan Sheik and Jason Mraz. Tolcher comes into his own with his eclectic funky style, which is a mix of rock, blues, folk, and pop. Contributions from ?uestlove (The Roots) and Gavin DeGraw among others highlight Tolcher's debut as well. Mission Responsible, the first single released from I Am, is a very upbeat and inspirational song about stepping up and leading in society. It features catchy yet uplifting lyrics like: Be a part of your own decision / See your future with tunnel vision / Take a chance if you want to survive. Another song, Sun Song, showcases another side of Tolcher's versatility, in which the aesthetically touching song has an apparent feel that goes back to his roots of singing in a church choir. Bad Habits is a heartfelt tear-inducing ballad that is very impressive, when meaningful lyrics like: Well I can't figure it out yet / Just how to make it perfect for you / But I'm closer than I was yesterday are attached to the drum and piano-driven song. Things get fun with the funk-inspired song Taxi Ride which, although brief, has a lot of punch behind it to keep one satisfied, while also showcasing Tolcher's impressive vocal range. I Am loses a little momentum when it gets halfway through to This Is What I Mean By That, but picks right back up with the title track I Am, which has a laid-back tempo. Miracle is an excellent bluesy number that further proves Tolcher as a promising musician.

Having been released on May 4, 2004 Tolcher's debut, I Am, is definitely a must-have. On it, Tolcher really comes into his own as a musician, and an impressive one at that.