“Literary / cinema-inspired multi-genre (blues, folk, acid western) recording features percussionist Booka Michel, Cindy Cashdollar on lap steel, Pogreba Weissenborn, and guests like guitarist Kenny Franklin. Different, but darn good.”
-Rick Allen, VINTAGE GUITAR magazine
“Abundant throughout is an ineffable beauty the mode has reached in the modern, middle, and archaic periods: ‘modern’ in the sense that everything Michel touches gains present-day resonance despite antecedent origins, ‘middle’ because he favors rusticity regardless, and ‘archaic’ through the influences of world music in cuts like Heaven’s Light, a tune capturing Byzantine echoes quite nicely. Michel is completely engrossed in the sinew and ambiance of times past while musing and crafting from a rocket age cognizant of the sound necessary to times gone by, careful not to lose its form and essence while improvising. Meaningful Songs breathes Americana but also reflects the country’s melting pot underpinnings, doing so with an oft breezily knowing touch, melodious, mellifluous, and marvelous in its rich palette of shades and hues, as urban as it is rustic. Booka Michel is indeed another fusioneer but in such a way that it’s almost impossible to determine just where the old leaves off and the new begins… and that’s all the evidence you need of a master craftsman.”
-Mark S. Tucker, F.A.M.E Magazine
“Seamlessly navigates between genres… Michel is the exception to every drummer joke mixing Piedmont blues, Civil-War Era styling, nautical themes, folk, Americana and the in house-titled genre, acid western. It is the kind of soundtrack that you might wish could be somehow implanted into your brain, bypassing the need for speakers and knobs. Set on a loop, the diversity of the songs keeps your step quick and your outlook bright. There is liveliness to the sound that animates your day as it slides across the big screen of life.”
-Danny McCloskey, THE ALTERNATE ROOT
“String music spun from the rich loam of the past, but laden with fresh nutrients, [it] illuminates the dignity of ordinary rural folks of years long gone. [This] new album featuring acoustic string instruments upholds a romantic ideal without sounding anachronistic. No familiarity with the film necessary to enjoy fully formed songs and brief atmospheric passages.
-Frank John Hadley, DOWNBEAT