Sound: There's simply so much to love about Michael Lee Firkins. Although hardly a household name for either casual music goers or musicians alike; he is, at least to me, an undercredited guitar virtuoso. His style is almost instantly recognizable as unique. His smooth fusion of jazz, bluegrass, country and blues fuses seemlessly with big 80's guitar tones and atmosphere. These amazing traits are further complimented by Firkins' amazingly smooth style of playing; often using precise finger picking to create a 'slide-esque' sound that, at times, seems to come from a slide guitar or even a lap steel.
The album (released in 1990) is Firkins' first studio album. The album shies away from the shred fest of the 80's to invoke more on the atmospherical level. Though, don't be mistaken, the album is filled to the brim with catchy licks and riffs that will leave your jaw on the floor. Nothing ever seems masturabatory or forced in his playing, and Firkins' always seems to keep his audience in mind instead of going on vulgar displays of musical prowess that many virtuoso guitarists are infamous for. // 9
Lyrics: The album is an instrumental, meaning that there are no lyrics; but I can comment that the titles of the tracks are fitting to each song and portray the easy going and laid back attitude that Firkins portrays through his music. Each piece is named accordingly and even simply by the title, you can predict what the vibe of a particular song is going to be like. // 8
Overall Impression: The entire album has a layed back and casual feel to it, never taking itself too too seriously. The songs are simply fun as hell and just groove so nicely. Firkins shows off his musical talent in force with not only perfectly harmonized licks and leads, but perfectly timed and placed ones; something that seems rare to come by nowadays. The songs also never press the issue as far as time goes. The only true complaint I can have for the album is when Firkins tries something a little too different and it ultimately skews the momentum of the song. Such as the case with the song "Space Crickets", the song itself is probably my personal favorite, but there's a point in the song where Firkins stops the momentum to try a jam-band approach live solo that does more harm to the song than good. This problem is found on a few places in the album, but never do they ruin the song all together. The moods of the album doesn't very its' tones very much. Although the slow and moody "Deja Blues" does a good job of providing the listener with a chance to breathe as the bluesjob progresses slowly, casually through the listeners ear while being an absolute joy to listen to. The album picks up once again and never stops its' momentum.
With Firkins' you get great, fun, atmospheric music that almost any musician, whether they specialize in rock, blues, jazz or bluegrass can ultimately enjoy and get a kick out of. // 10