Mike Kuster is celebrating Halloween and his home, Frederick County, Maryland’s 275th Anniversary, with five original Halloween songs in an EP album, Mountain Monsters of Maryland. Mike has been releasing songs over the past month leading to the full EP release this week.
“My daughter asked me last year when I was making a holiday album, and my first thought was Halloween. I love the holiday and all the fun associated with it. There are tons of Christmas albums, but how many Country Halloween albums are there?
So, I started writing songs about the scary things that I know, local legends.
The Snallygaster is a staple of Frederick County history, and is such a great legend that even pulls Teddy Roosevelt into the story.
Every kid who grew up in Frederick County and went to outdoor school knows about the Dwayoo. That story at camp scared the stuff out of countless sixth graders at Camp Greentop.
The “Black Beast of Lewistown” is one that is not a legend, but I hope will be. Hank Kehlbeck, the drummer in my band The Catoctin Cowboys, sent me a video of a steer running down U.S. 15 near Lewistown. The video was pretty funny. Hank said that I could probably make that into a song. So, I did.
“Catoctin Shiners” carries on the story of the Snallygaster. Those moonshiners in the mountains are certainly known to be armed and to guard their stills. They’re also known to have killed a Snallygaster back in the early 20th Century. So, I crafted this story of the shiners being armed not just against revenuers, but also against the monsters of the mountains.
“The Witch” is my tribute to that infamous witch story that took poor little Burkittsville by storm in 1999. I love this movie and wanted to incorporate the legend of a witch in the mountains of Frederick County into this album. Eduardo Sanchez’s movie forever made the witch a Mountain Monster of Maryland.”
This is Mike Kuster’s third studio album, recorded in The Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee, with Dr. Ford producing and playing keyboards and drums. The album includes many of the same talents as his first two albums. Grammy and IBMA Award-Winner Michael Cleveland plays fiddle on three of the five tracks. Chris Condon, who owns and produces music from his own studio and serves as Billy Ray Cyrus’ music director, plays guitar on all the songs. Caleb Mundy, a fixture of Nashville’s live music scene and attorney, plays bass guitar on the album.
Mike’s other albums, Better Late Than Never and Country So Fresh You Have To Check Your Boots, were both met with critical acclaim. They are available for streaming or purchase as digital downloads or CDs. Better Late Than Never is also available on vinyl.