Michael Lee Firkins is a guitar virtuoso that not many would want to match licks with. The group that he has put together for this album is certainly a perfect union. Together they have taken some classic pieces, plus one original, and transformed them into new vibrant presentations that are once again timeless masterpieces to be treasured. "Still Alive and Well," a Rick Derringer cover, is superbly laced with a tight rhythm section and well-crafted lead guitar riffs. The vocals are powerful and add strength to the piece in this dimension. The full rich tone will certainly appeal to fans of hot and heavy rock & roll. On "Manic Depression," a Jimi Hendrix cover, for the first time on the album one has the chance to examine the lead guitar virtuoso, Michael Lee Firkins, at his finest. Jimi Hendrix would certainly be pleased to hear his piece, kicked up a notch and spiced with some expressive phrases that show that this guitarist is most certainly experienced. The drum work by Trevor Thornton displays ingenuity with some creative fills that form a steadfast foundation for Firkins to expand from. "I Need You," a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover, really allows Sonny Reece to present his amazing vocals and lyrical expression. The Southern rock sound with a blues foundation proves to be an unbelievable formula for this group of musicians. Sonny Reece's voice is similar in range and style to Ronnie Van Zant's and is complimented by the guitar accents that Firkins has laid out for the track. The tightness of the whole entourage makes for a pleasant audio experience of a classic rock tune. Always a favorite jazz piece, "Pink Panther," a Henry Mancini cover, comes off with a truly amazing presence through the creative genius of Firkins. He uses different electronic guitar nuances to intensify the multiple transitions he incorporates in his original improvisational phrases. He takes this classic piece and makes it a very new, unique, and entertaining work of art. "I Know a Little," a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover authored by the guitarist Steve Gaines, has certainly not lost any of its vibrance with the smoking fretwork that Firkins brings to the piece. The harmony guitar tracks are engineering masterpieces, as well as being some of the finest guitar picking in the music business. Sonny Reece again compliments the presentation with a ace performance. The bass guitar work from Neil G. Ives and drumming from Trevor Thornton keep the piece together with a stranglehold. The group of musicians have breathed a new life into yet another classic rock piece. "The Window," the only original piece on the album, more than adequately displays that Firkins can write, as well as play, some creative rock & roll. "The Window" layers some great acoustic guitar playing placed delicately with some prolific electric lead guitar phrases. Only guitars were used in the composition of the entire piece's rich tonal quality, which would not have had a more pleasant sound with complete orchestration. Michael Lee Firkins certainly proves that not "everything" has been done that can be done with an electric guitar. He takes some classic pieces and reinvents them into new pieces that can be enjoyed once again. The creative genius in this guitarist will amaze even the most educated guitarist, but can still be enjoyed by the person who is ready to examine how an expert craftsman works his magic.
All Music Guide