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Mikel Gehl has always played the guitar. Well, not really always, but you might as well count the few years it took to grow big enough as time spent being a guitarist waiting to happen. He spent his youth honing his craft in garages throughout east Baltimore. Mikel soaked up all of the American and British rock guitar he could, being particularly influenced by Windham Hill guitarist Michael Hedges, who frequently gave solo concerts while attending Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.

Mikel sums up his music training at the University of Maryland in two words: “semi-formal.” We won’t press for details. The real training is doing it, and Mikel quickly became a fixture in Baltimore’s original music scene. He did time in a band called Beyond Words, which, in the late 80s, sought to bring in fresh ideas by advertising in The Village Voice for a female vocalist/musician who could contribute her own material. Lisa Mathews showed up from New York and agreed to move to Baltimore. The result was one of that area’s most successful and enduring collaborations. Beyond Words metamorphosed into Love Riot, which released several popular and critically acclaimed albums, won awards, toured, and appeared on network TV shows.

Mikel’s most successful engagement, however, was to his sweetheart, Donna Reilly, who, ignoring everyone’s advice, married our guitar star in 1995. Eric Reilly Gehl arrived on the scene in 2001. By this time, Lisa Mathews had already achieved motherhood and proposed a family oriented venture, Milkshake, which would draw on their musical and life experiences.

Without a formal blueprint, everything seemed to pull together in a magical, accidental way. Mikel notes that, “In the music business, even success can leave you disillusioned. The key to survival is to try to balance the threefold joys of family, friendship, and music. To me, our music is that spirit, that enthusiasm in us that allows everyone to do their best.” He adds, “Our goal is to introduce positive energy to kids through our music and provide a shared experience for children and parents.”














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He did time in a band called Beyond Words, which, in the late 80s, sought to bring in fresh ideas by advertising in The Village Voice for a female vocalist/musician who could contribute her own material. That vocalist turned out to be Lisa.
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