C5 gets into the groove for another introspective chat with a Charlotte notable and celebrity to expose a little bit of their personal side by asking three intriguing questions:

  1. What are you reading?
  2. What are you listening to?
  3. What are you watching?

We, then, take the answers to these three questions and find the meaning, theme or message.

I engaged in a jovial conversation with Mike Strauss at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Plaza Midwood recently. Strauss is a songwriter, singer and guitarist with the Mike Strauss Band, a local staple in the Queen City music scene for over 10 years.

I asked him a few questions:

What are you reading?

I’m at the library every week, getting books with my wife and kids. I usually get two or three books and give them a chance. Currently, I’m reading the novel “Second Hand Souls” by Christopher Moore. It is actually the sequel to his previous novel, “Dirty Job.” I didn’t read the first one, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. People die but their souls are disappearing. A group of unlikely people join forces to figure it out. Excellent story.

I just finished reading “This Wheel’s on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band” by Levon Helm. It is very entertaining. Some of his stories alternate between fact and fiction. I also just finished reading the novel “A Hologram for the King” by Dave Eggers. It’s a lasting story that points to America’s role in the global economy.

What are you listening to?

I like to listen to a LOT of music. That can sometimes be a problem. I have been listening to “Love on a Real Train” by Joachim Cooder. He is the son of renowned guitarist Ry Cooder, and I met him when my band opened up for his father. It is rather contemporary but, the more I listen to it, the more I like it. I have also been listening to “Last Night This Morning” by Jim Campilongo & Honeyfingers. It’s all instrumental and I love it. I also regularly listen to some old country music from guys like Marty Robbins and Merle Haggard.

What are you watching?

We have no cable in our house. So, when I watch something, it is usually the comedy series “Dreamland” on Netflix. It is a political satire and fun to watch. Otherwise, I venture over to the Comet Grill to watch the Panthers games. I am not even a huge sports guy but I enjoy watching the Panthers.

What does all of this mean as a static self-assessment? 

I’m open. I’m not predisposed to stay with what I know. If it’s done right, it interests me. You can always find me browsing in the record store or the library. I want to find things that help me see the world differently.

Strauss Outside

Photos: Jeff Hahne, Greg Kurts

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