Mike Bankhead is a songwriter and bassist from Dayton, Ohio. He makes hooky Midwestern rock with strong power pop influences.
His latest offering, I Am Experienced, is more than just a collection of songs, but a series of vulnerable and open vignettes that form a concept album. Each of the six songs is in a different musical genre, but all have their roots in Black music.
Through tough commentary on the Black experience and an appreciation of Black artistry from everyone involved in the project as well as the soundscapes and genres that inspire each track, I Am Experienced gives a vulnerable and riveting deep dive into a purview few get to live through first-hand. The album asks the listener to step into someone else’s shoes in a way that’s inviting but also staggering, building catharsis from songs that are at moments disillusioning but at other times hopeful.
Outside of the record’s six tracks, Bankhead has created an entire world around I Am Experienced, with CD versions that include a sixteen-page booklet with lyrics and essays by Black writers with deeper context around each song. The release will also allow listeners to access a website with demos, artwork, photos from the studio, unabridged essays and behind-the-scenes videos. “It’s cliché to say that the latest thing you’ve made is your best work,” Bankhead says of I Am Experienced, “but this project as a whole cohesive artistic statement is absolutely the best thing I’ve done so far.”