Austin American Statesman: THE DRIFTER keeps the spirit of Austin music alive

“The Drifter,” Mike Flanigin’s first solo record after two decades of playing Hammond B-3 organ in landmark local clubs such as the Continental and Antone’s, is one of the year’s most intriguing albums. With a star-studded guest cast of Flanigin’s friends including Kat Edmonson, Gary Clark Jr., Alejandro Escovedo, Jimmie Vaughan and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, it was a sure bet to draw lots of attention. 

But the real triumph of “The Drifter” is how vividly it represents what Austin music is all about at its very best. It could only have come from a musician who’s deeply grounded in the city’s soulful, rootsy bedrock, yet who sees no reason to be hemmed in by boundaries of genre and style.

Texas Monthly: You Don’t Mess Around With Mike

On the last afternoon of 2014, Austin organ player Mike Flanigin drove with Billy Gibbons from Houston to Austin. The pair had just spent a few days in Gibbons’s studio, working on what will be the ZZ Top front man’s first-ever solo album, and both men had New Year’s Eve gigs in Austin: Flanigin was playing with legendary local bluesman Jimmie Vaughan at the Continental Club spin-off C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, and Gibbons was appearing as a special guest of Willie Nelson’s at ACL Live. On the way to town, they stopped at a gas station in La Grange, the setting of one of ZZ Top’s most famous songs. - See more at:

Rolling Stone Mag: The Drifter album stream and article

Years before becoming the go-to organist for ZZ Top and Jimmie Vaughan, Mike Flanigin paid the bills as a lead guitarist. He'd play pick-up gigs and weekly shows in Austin, occasionally hitting the road as a sideman for touring groups like the Red Devils. One night back home in Texas, he was playing with the house band at Antone's Nightclub when he began eyeing a Hammond B3 organ that occupied a corner of the venue's stage. 

The Drifter comes in at #17 of Rolling Stone Country’s 30 Great Country Albums 2015 You Probably Didn’t Hear

There's good reason that most listeners haven't yet met The Drifter, the tremendous first-ever solo album by Hammond B-3 organ master Mike Flanigin — it isn't officially released until August 21st. We've been fortunate enough, however, to have spent the summer with the LP, a collection of alternatingly gritty and atmospheric Americana songs driven by the Texas musician's nuanced playing and some special guests from his home state. ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, guitar hero Gary Clark Jr. and punk godfather Alejandro Escovedo all make cameos, but even they can't overshadow Flanigin's B-3. It's the perfect record for late-night parties or all-day drives through the desert. J.H.