Lo-Fi Relief

First String (Basket Face Productions)
String Relief

By Robert Gruber

The debut disc by this Louisville-based blues band sounds like a promising demo. Or this could be a new application of the 'Lo-fi' ethic: lo-fi blues. Whatever the case, First String 'isn't likely to pick up any Grammies for production. That said, this album does possess a certain homemade charm, kinda like that lop-sided ashtray your kid brings home from 6th grade art class. String Relief offers 13 original tunes, some mellow ("Streets of Gold,""Sneakin'"), some jumpin' (the impressive "Lodestone Alley,""The Ride is On").

Lead singer Ric Lucas puts the songs across with heart and soul. Given a certain amount of heat and seasoning, these songs could sizzle (as I'm sure they do when performed live), but on First String, they never quite catch fire like they should. String Relief should also consider pulling the saxophone out of the mix - it's good here and there, but as a prominent part of every song, it wears thin fast.