Gui­tar

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Bend­ing Air Michael Fix Fret Mu­sic While ag­ile acous­tic gui­tar fin­ger­pick­ing is his forte and what he’s widely known for here and over­seas, Michael Fix is an ex­cel­lent all-round mu­si­cian, as his 15th al­bum am­ply il­lus­trates. Bend­ing Air shines a light on ev­ery facet of the triple in­stru­men­tal Golden Gui­tar win­ner’s tal­ents, in­clud­ing his abil­ity as a singer. De­spite a lim­ited vo­cal range, Fix makes a de­cent fist of Amer­i­can folk le­gend Odetta’s 1970s mes­sagedriven Hit or Miss, Tom Kim­mel and Buddy Mond­lock’s po­tent late-90s bal­lad Po­etic Jus­tice and fel­low Bris­ban­ite Mark Cryle’s in­ti­mate 2015 com­po­si­tion Slip Away. On two of those tracks he ben­e­fits from har­mony sup­port from English songstress Chris­tine Col­lis­ter and lo­cal mu­si­cian Sarah Calder­wood, who also lends flute to the last-named work. On Cos­mopoli­tan Blues and Sticky Rice, Fix gets a help­ing hand from sons Joshua and Adrian on bon­gos and brushes. Else­where the mae­stro dou­bles up on do­bro and banjo. Chet Atkins’s in­flu­ence in­fil­trates those tracks and Tan­ga­looma Sun­set, an­other jaunty self-penned tune. The fourth of the gui­tarist’s five orig­i­nals, Guer­nica, has been ac­corded ap­pro­pri­ate grav­i­tas, Fix em­ploy­ing a clas­sic Ibe­rian chord pro­gres­sion and faux fla­menco fig­ures to il­lus­trate a piece per­tain­ing to a Span­ish Civil War atroc­ity. A med­ley of three tra­di­tional Aus­traliana tunes, start­ing with Rye­buck Shearer, tips an Akubra to the band the Bushwack­ers, of which Fix was once a mem­ber, as well as con­firm­ing his prow­ess as a solo gui­tarist. An in­stru­men­tal ren­di­tion of Len­non and McCart­ney’s A Day in the Life con­tin­ues Fix’s fix­a­tion with Bea­tles songs.

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