Blues man and the sea
Michael Langham’s love of the ocean colors his Lighthouse Pop’n Blues Band project
It wasn’t too long ago that a band trying to make it had to either get a record contract or spend huge sums of money trying to market its music. But with the age of the Internet comes something new: the Internet band. This new breed of band exists in cyberspace, with song samples, promo material and CDs available online—and for only a few thousand dollars.
One such band is the Lighthouse Pop’n Blues Band, though it’s not so much a band, yet, as a concept.
Lighthouse comes from the mind of Michael Langham, a longtime songwriter who moved to Reno from Livermore, Calif., about six months ago. The Lighthouse name comes from a painting of a lighthouse that his mother did years ago.
The name fits. As a lighthouse overlooks the ocean, Langham’s songwriting talent also spreads its beacon across the seas, looking for inspiration rather than endangered ships. But despite his lyrics about shipping vessels and boat-munching storms, Langham says he’s never worked at sea. The ocean, and man’s struggle to understand and conquer it, just speaks to him.
“I’ll see a show on the Discovery Channel and be inspired by it,” he says.
Langham says he has loved pop and blues music since he was a teenager, when he started playing guitar. He notes his influences as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.
“I think Jimi Hendrix is the biggest,” he says. “But as for my songwriting, I have to choose my own road.”
Langham says his own road is paved with short, poignant pop songs.
“I like to write pop music. The format, to write a song in three minutes, is a lot of fun and a big challenge,” he told PirateNoise.com, one of the many Web sites that carry his music online. “I enjoy the freedom to write the kind of music that will touch your heart as well as your mind.”
Lighthouse has also done well on CosmicRadio.com, scoring the 15th most listened to track on the site’s blues chart. Langham also has CDs for sale on Amazon.com, CDnow.com, CDuniverse.com, TheOrchard.com, Ultravibe.com and Ktel.com.
But what Langham really wants, despite the relative success of his online efforts, is for the Lighthouse Pop’n Blues Band to truly become a band. Right now, the band has one member: Langham, who sings and plays the guitar. The rest is left up to synthesizers.
“The key to success is a good, solid band,” he says. “Everything else is in place.”
Langham says that he could have signed a record deal and used studio musicians to record his work, but he wants something more than that for his music.
“That would be nice, but more importantly, I want people who will stay around a while,” he says.
For not having a band behind him, Langham’s efforts are remarkable. He has built a studio in his house, where he records all his music. In his garage, he has set up a place for a band to practice. Langham makes all his CDs, posters, business cards and other promo material on his computer in his studio, and he records under his own record label, Rhythm & Style Records.
The Lighthouse Pop’n Blues Band’s newest album, Pharoahs Lighthouse, is part of a six-album project. Langham says that he hopes to see the Lighthouse project grow in the years to come, but he wants to keep writing songs that are personal to him and that he hopes the audience can feel. As he says about the Lighthouse band on his Deep Blue Planet CD:
“Lighthouse is a concept that will get you back in tune to what’s really important to your soul—the music."