Lines & Spaces is Brisbane-based acoustic guitarist Michael Fix’s fourteenth CD release, and emphatically shows why he has become such an in-demand concert artist, touring Europe every year and winning fans from all over the world.
Michael is a true artist: each successive album follows a new path, and he is not afraid to try new ideas or take risks. He regards all his albums as musical snapshots of a point in time in his life, recording the highs (travels, new rhythmic discoveries), simple pleasures (a child’s smile, birdsong, a storm passing) and lows (loss of a friend, missing family, loss of childhood), and by sharing these universal emotions and experiences, Michael has been able to touch listeners on a very deep and personal level.
As a reflection of his live concerts, Michael also adds some cover arrangements into the mix. ‘I think the way an artist interprets a well-known cover can say a lot about them,’ he explains. ‘A song like The Beatles’ “Blackbird” is so famous and well loved by guitar players – and so frequently covered – that I felt it was important to create something unique. I hope Beatles fans aren’t too upset by my ‘funky’ version of “Blackbird”!’
However, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ is giving a much straighter, more traditional interpretation, and its uniqueness is in the performance of a rock’n’roll classic as a driving solo acoustic guitar piece, incorporating the groove, bass line and melody in a way that is technically complex, yet rendered with the energy and passion of the original Beatles recording.
Some surprises await long-time fans of Michael’s music – some new additions to Michael’s sound, including female block harmonies (‘Blackbird’, ‘Coppertown Blues’) and flute (‘Butcherbird’), both courtesy of Sarah Calderwood from acclaimed Brisbane-based group Sunas, and harmonica in ‘Young Gun’, played by virtuoso Christian Marsh.
With a nod to his 2009 CD Classic Fix, Michael includes a further surprise: a spectacular solo guitar arrangement of Ravel’s masterpiece ‘Bolero’.
However the biggest surprise is ‘Coppertown Blues’. Co-written with Mark Cryle, the song tells a very personal story of a child growing up in the industrial town of Port Kembla in the 1960s. Inspired by the demolition in 2014 of the iconic stack that towered over Michael’s first school, the song talks of toxic waste falling on the town, the siren in the schoolyard to warn of excessive pollution levels, the burning in the chest when the wind blew west, the transition of Port Kembla into a ghost town when the industries closed and, finally, the mixed emotions bought about by the demolition of the stack.