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-Greg’s Take-

Remember turning 21? If you haven’t yet, then this is most likely going to shock you.

21 was great, but then what? What do you do then? Look forward to 30? 30 is old; right?

It is not old.

What happens between that landmark age of 21 and, well, everything else is life. Mid-twenties are about discovery and losing at a lot of things.

For Athens, Ga singer/songwriter Michael Stovall, his discovery has led him to Mercy; a four (five including the bonus “Something”) track reach into his roots in Alabama and a portrayal of a very American acoustic songwriter presence.

The fascinating journey the EP takes you on is more mature than simple love songs and much less repetitious than most of the mainstream associations many would be quick to make. Like Marc Cohn did with “Walking In Memphis,” Michael Stovall does with Mercy; it isn’t a singer/songwriter, it isn’t just music, it is a story that is very easy to see.

Each track lays down just a little more road than the last. Mercy keeps things very simple, but does so with purpose and finesse. “Home (The Only Place)” strikes up a coffee shop lamenting sensitivity while “It Don’t Take Two” immediately paints a vivid picture. The title track has Springsteen qualities of echoing reverence. The slower paced ballad leans on a drifting and wandering acoustic plucking that left me staring contemplatively into nothingness. It is a sole testament to the quality Stovall is capable of. He taps into the vein of Americana and leaves his mark. His ability to evoke the same reflective qualities as Ryan Humbert and Joey Todd immediately takes him from just another man and his guitar to a weaver of emotion and grace.

At just twenty eight, Michael Stovall carries a heavy weight of experience and style in his music. If someone were able to reach into their heart, pull out all of their hurt, happiness and passion and mold it into an acoustic guitar, they may come close to achieving what Stovall has done in Mercy.