Songwriter of the Month
Mike Layman

By Ray Yates

One of the more consistent and prolific songwriters in the LASC is board member Mike Layman. Mike says he's been writing songs since "God created dirt, or about 15 years," but that he got serious about his craft after he joined the LASC and became a student of songwriting. He has written approximately 250 songs and has done demos of roughly 100 of them, but claims that only about 40 are really good.

A native of Lyndon Ky., Mike now lives in New Albany with his wife Mary and four children. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in business management and now works for the Corps of Engineers.

Mike Layman. Photo by Jean Metcalfe

Mike was influenced largely by such local groups as Cosmo and the Counts, The Tren-Dells, the Monarchs, and the Carnations. He used to go to clubs a lot on the weekends to hear bands play. And he played bass and sang in a band himself for a few years.

"Weddings and dances," he said. "Never had any lessons ... just picked up bass and guitar off of records."

I asked Mike if he had any complaints.

"Louisville radio; lots of oldies, lots of talk radio. Local radio used to play the local bands. Hardly anybody does that anymore. I wish the [Louisville] songwriting industry, the clubs and stores and studios all were involved in a coalition to support each other to make a better music community. But, competition causes people to play off each other instead of play up. Some people are doing it but they are islands."

Mike's songwriting has really improved since joining the LASC. He likes being with people who like to write music. Writing mostly pop and light rock tunes, his wording and structure are light years ahead of where he started, and his keyboard playing continues to improve. He says most members need to come to the critique sessions more often with rewrites of their songs.

Although he has an Ovation guitar, he mainly writes on the keyboard. The Korg M1 synthesizer and 4-track recorder are the heart of his personal home studio where he writes and records.

Mike's goals are to get a song cut and hear it on the radio and to see the LASC turn into a professional organization with the backing of music business people in town.