Alabama Mike Tells His Truth
On “Stuff I’ve Been Through”
Anyone listening to Alabama Mike has a simple choice: Brace yourself for
some raw and sometimes uncomfortable truth, or run the other way. His new
album, Stuff I’ve Been Through, is loaded with 11 original songs that pit Alabama
Mike face-to-face with what he sees in today’s society.
The album (release date May 12, 2023 on Little Village) features Alabama Mike
(Michael Benjamin) at his most outspoken. It weaves from old-school Southern soul
to straight-ahead blues to the earthy street-funk and R&B gleaned from his blue-
collar neighborhood of Richmond, Calif., where he has lived for the past 25 years.
And, there’s a gospel power to this music that increases its intensity.
“My reality might be different, but that doesn’t make it wrong,” Mike says. “It
just reflects me. As an artist, you have to know what you are, and more importantly,
what you are not.”
Produced by Christoffer “Kid” Andersen at Greaseland in San Jose, Calif., the
album shows unabashed candor, beginning with the survivor’s tale of the title cut.
Alabama Mike recounts life’s missteps and emerges battered with the knowledge
that a higher power pulled him through.
This is evidence that Alabama Mike is one of the few blues artists today who
writes strong, memorable songs that are simultaneously unique, but steeped in
blues tradition. He writes about modern themes, making his music work in a way
that’s natural and not contrived. The songs reflect his personality: unabashed, self-
assured and swaggering at times.
The music is raw-edged yet reflects the complex and realistic person that is
The tracks “Fat Shame Pt. 1” and “Fat Shame Pt. 2” are at the core of Mike’s
fearless approach to songwriting. He’s not about to let anyone dictate how he
should look or act. He makes that as a personal statement, but also has a universality
to it that includes empowerment lessons for everyone.
“This Ain’t No DizneyLand” challenges the perception that life in California is
gold-plated. No, Mike reveals, the Golden State is as plagued as anywhere else with
its share of hard-luck tales and poverty-stricken warts. He makes his point about
the region’s affluence, by assuring listeners that he won’t be found shopping at a
luxurious mall, but rather at the 99-Cent Store.
There’s a lot of personality here, and that a testament to his skills that he can
steer clear of conventional stereotypes. It’s a tricky form of social commentary that
few dare tackle.
Alabama Mike challenges the listener at every turn to accept him no matter
how hard that may be. But his songwriting is so self-assured and compassionate that
he wins over listeners just by being himself.
“My music finds it own path. I just go along with it,” he says. “And, it winds up
being what I am.” ~ Alabama Mike
About Little Village Foundation
Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out,
discovers, records and produces music that otherwise would not be heard beyond the artist’s family
and community. Little Village supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds. Many
of these artists make music just as a part of telling their community stories. Since 2015, the company
has compiled a diverse collection of more than 50 albums that reflect society’s roots. All of its work
is done at no cost to the artists, which retain all intellectual property rights and earnings from CD
sales. Little Village is supported through generous donations from individuals and grants.
For more information on Little Village Foundation, please visit: littlevillagefoundation.com