Iowa Alumni Magazine | December 2006 | Reviews

Where You Are by Mike and Amy Finders

By Kathryn Howe
Where You Are

Since moving to Iowa City from Galena, Illinois, five years ago, Mike, 02MA, and Amy Finders have left an unmistakable imprint on the local musical scene. And just when their fans figure this husband-and-wife duo can't possibly sound any better, the Finders prove that they continue to refine their delightful blend of bluegrass, folk, country, and blues.

Released in 2004, Where You Are is the fourth recording by Mike and Amy, who keep a rigorous schedule of downtown concerts and festivals, regular gigs at the legendary Mill restaurant, and appearances at fairs and multiple venues across the Midwest. Wherever they go, the Finders' originality and down-home spunk keep audiences smiling.

Where You Are follows the couple's critically acclaimed Crystal Blue Morning and Breeze Away from Gone. The disc features six new original songs, two re-releases, and three covers that share stories of unforgettable people and everyday experiences.

Mike and Amy take turns on lead vocals, but share the spotlight in lovely harmony on the standout track "Adeline." A sweet song about two sisters and a smitten suitor at a dance hall, "Adeline" earned Mike first place in the bluegrass category of the 2004 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, held every year at the Americana music festival Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

The Finders employ a wide range of instruments and are backed by other popular Iowa City musicians, including Al Murphy on fiddle, Bob Black on banjo, Dave Zollo on piano, and Billy Valencia on stand-up bass. Mike's soulful lyrics and Amy's irresistible voice—combined with some great guitar and mandolin picking—appeal to toe-tapping musical tastes across genres.

A myriad of elements make the Finders so endearing. Great music aside, their warm and friendly stage presence suggests they are folks you'd invite to a backyard barbecue. To their faithful "folkgrass" following, the Finders are the musicians next door.