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Michael Lee Firkins - Blacklight Sonatas (CD)

Michael Lee Firkins
Blacklight Sonatas
by Yiannis Zervos at 18 October 2007, 1:40 PM

Michael Lee Firkins is well known for his unique style of playing mainly blues and country music with a bit more rock attitude. Lee has won many guitar awards since 1990. It is the year that his first solo self-titled album got out, introducing to a wider audience of guitar players the use of hybrid picking (a technique that allows guitar players to use pick and fingers at the same time). We now have in our hands Firkin's 6th solo effort “Blacklight Sonatas.

It's an instrumental album with a lot of blues guitar and a cover of RAM JAM's “Black Betty, with Michael Lee Firkins testing his vocal abilities once more. It is a strange thing that all the guitarists want to grab a mic and sing with no apparent reason. This is the only dark moment in “Blacklight Sonatas that mainly has some nice blues vibe, a lot of good guitar moments and nice mixing work in the studio. The stereo panning of the guitars is a little bit hard, with two guitars shredding at the same time at your left and right speaker with the rhythm section in the middle.
The best moment is the album's self-titled song “Blacklight Sonata; a sad guitar is bleeding with a bottleneck sliding to a classical music scale and a brokenhearted almost mournful melody with a glimpse of light inside. This is indeed a heavy and emotional song from Michael Lee Firkins.

A nice compilation of blues, country riffs and solos and with a nice selection of musicians that wade in, like Thomas Pridgen (MARS VOLTA), Chuck Leavell (ALLMAN BROTHERS, ERIC CLAPTON, ROLLING STONES), Michael Bland (Prince, SOUL ASYLUM) and more.Blacklight Sonatas is the perfect listening exercise for guitarists that want to play the music that Michael Lee Firkins knows very well. The rest of you should only want the pain, listen to the last song “Blacklight Sonata and then decide.

3 Star Rating

One Big Punch (Crying Stacks)
Two Guns Left
Black Betty
I-680 Waltz
The Horse And The Fly
Now's Your Time Blues
Theme From The Sanford And Son (The Streetbeater)
Took The Words Right Outta My Mouth
Blacklight Sonata
Michael Lee Firkins - Guitar, vocals
Thomas Pridgen - Drums
Kai Eckhardt - Bass
Steve Evans - Bass (on track 3)
Michael Bland - Drums (on tracks 4 and 7)
Matt Abts - Drums (on track 8)
Andy Hess - Bass (on track 8)
Chuck Leavell - Keyboards (on track 8)
Danny Alvarez - Keyboards (on track 9)
Record Label: Magnatude Records


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