Michael Burks grew up in Camden, Ark., and his daddy slapped a guitar in his hands not long after he could walk.

Michael Burks grew up in Camden, Ark., and his daddy slapped a guitar in his hands not long after he could walk. Not surprisingly, Burks is a powerhouse blues guitar slinger whose admiration for Albert King is evident in the tone of his axe. While he tends to overplay, that will likely change with seasoning. On his first set for Alligator, Burks blasts through licks like Clap-ton used to play—think lightning—just because he can. But listen to him cut loose on slow blues jams like "Don't Let It Be a Dream" and "Mean Old Lady." Clearly, he has the makings of a great guitarist. The long-term issue will be Burks' singing, not his guitar. While his best vocal can be heard on the title track, his voice lacks presence overall. He's a good singer—unfortunately, though, good isn't good enough in the blues realm, where killer vocalists are mandatory. In the years to come, Burks will have to become more of an all-around threat.—PVV