Never heard of Micki Free? I doubt it – you have certainly heard the Grammy Award winner’s playing having worked with some of the greatest luminaries of rock and pop (including Prince, janet Jackson, Wendy O Williams, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley, Billy Gibbons and Bill Wyman – to name just a few).
Micki’s sound is about groove – soaking up musical influences and channelling them with the deft touch of his own style. “Tattoo Burn” (released on the 9th April via Cargo Records) has plenty of swagger from the hard rocking, riff-fest of “Hole in the Heart of the Blues” to the traditional “Greens and Barbeque”. If you are a fan of Jimi Hendrix, you will love the way that Micki’s heart and soul come through in both his guitar playing and his singing. He is not, however, simply a Hendrix impersonator. Gene Simmons described him, quite accuraqtely, as “…a Hendrix innovator”. We will never know what Jimi would sound like 40+ years on from his tragic demise, however I suspect that it may have been something like this.
The CD also contains hints of the Rev’d. Billy F. Gibbons and the other blues greats that have influenced Micki’s musical development. This even includes an appearance by Bill Wyman (on the live track, “Red House”). With smoking hot, rocking blues through to the more soulful styles, “Tattoo Burn” really introduces well the newcomers to Mick Free’s work. A stunning piece of blues rock that takes the legacy of others and develops it for the listener of the 21st century – most importantly it is clear that it is the songwriting that is at the core of the record…not just the stunning guitar work.
“Tattoo Burn” is released on 9th April.
Micki Free is live at The 12 Bar, London on 16th April
For more information see: www.mickifree.com
Reviewed by David Wilson