Friday, July 22, 2011


Rating: 9/10

Label: TSM/SLW 2011

Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Why is Michael on fire??? He's been playing with matches!!! Now there's a lesson for all of you out there, if you're playing with fire - you gonna get burned. Actually, He grew up in Detroit, where, in the 1970s, his early band, Old Buck, was a frontrunner of Country Rock music. They quickly established themselves as a regional favorite and performed steadily on a circuit of clubs, colleges and festivals in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada, with occasional coast-to-coast jaunts as well. On his 13th album, 'Michael On Fire' brings to light his distinctive brand of americana-rock music with 13 songs that span a broad range of rootsy styles, including blues, swamp, delta, cajun, new orleans, country, and what not really.

He's a proper blue collar musician, a hard working singer/songwriter as well as a very gifted poet according to these songs. Are we impressed? very much so!!! Acoustic and electric sounds work together in perfect harmony and you'll get the whole she-bang with everything from piano, harmonica, dobro, sax and organ to violin and banjo to electric guitars and laidback arrangements. 13 albums??? Amazing!!! and it worries me that I haven't heard a single one of them with the exception of "Always Yes" of course. Mark my words, this is top notch material and definitely must have if you're into the laidback style of Willy Deville, Springsteen, Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits, Van Morrison, (seventies) Dylan, and the old sound of classic americana rock.

Not a duff moment and it's difficult to come up with anything negative to say really. Michael and the band have created a Americana anthology that reads like a collection of classics bands and songs, Okay, it's all very laidback and perhaps a rocker or two wouldn't hurt (just to spice up things and get a change of pace), but it's otherwise sheer class from the opening "Righteous Man" to the closing track of "Watch The Show". Highly recommended.

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