Gainesville, Florida-based DIY singer-songwriter Mike Llerena is gearing up to release his third EP, Absence & The Heart, in February. Llerena’s roots are embedded in the local punk music scene he grew up in, but over the years he has added classic rock and folk flavours to his musical brew.
While a teenager, Llerena picked up the guitar and started singing and playing. Eventually he began to write lyrics, compose his own songs, and learn how to play other instruments. He then hit various venues around Gainesville in 2011, building up his audience and his repertoire. In 2014 he released his debut EP, Gold Gone Black. His second EP, Letter Of Resignation, soon followed in 2015.
In advance of his Absence & The Heart EP, Llerena has delivered the single “Rosanna”. Not to be confused with Toto’s same-named tune, this number steps directly along with strummed guitars and an emphatic drum beat. Llerena blends the acoustic side of the pop-punk of Green Day with straightforward Americana on “Rosanna”, sing-talking and exclaiming from the heart.
Llerena plaintively proclaims, “You are the light at the end of a tunnel that doesn’t really end…” (at least that’s what these ears heard; the words are a bit muddled) amid the laid-back pace, which is augmented by the sporadic agitated shake of cymbals and cycling guitar strum.