Michael Egan,
Live at Studio 51
(independent, 2005)

This album by Michael Egan and introducing the Great Whites is an eclectic mix of music and styles.

The CD opens with some classy electric guitar that echoes back to the days of the Shadows before coming more up to the minute when the vocals take over on "Move to the Top." I like this blending of old and new styles, which could be great for introducing an older generation to modern music while letting new listeners hear a sound of the not-too-distant past.

"Better Than That" is one of my favourite tracks here. It combines fine lyrics with some excellent playing. "The Only One" closely follows this with a curiously familiar sound. This is another track that is reminiscent of the best of the music of a few decades ago.

The final track of 11 is a very impressive "Castaway." The track cuts things back to basics of vocal and spare accompaniment and gives the voice of Egan a chance to be heard to best effect. Here we can appreciate the lyrics.

The album is a great showcase for the talented performers and exhibits their undoubted prowess on various instruments. The inclusion of the lyrics would have been a welcome bonus here -- but the songs and performances here deserve a wider audience.

by Nicky Rossiter
8 April 2006