Activist, poet, artist, performer and former investigator for the Harris County Pollution Department, Kirk Farris is well known to environmentalists and City Council members for his longtime concern over restoration of the McKee Street Bridge and the James Bute Park area on Buffalo Bayou. One blogger called him a "professional troublemaker." Environmental activities aside, there's probably not a single aspiring singer-songwriter in Houston who doesn't know Farris, since he's been an irregular at open mikes around town for at least 20 years. A chance encounter with Farris at one of these is like finding a Tom Waits LP amid a stack of Starbucks mood-music CDs. But he's not exactly Mr. Extrovert, so it's taken countless entreaties by friends and other performers to convince Farris to finally release his first album, the appropriately titled Bayou. Recorded at Rock Romano's studio, it's sparse, unpretentious, mostly acoustic and filled at times with exceptional poetry and insight (just like his live work). Farris doesn't dabble in fluffy love songs or mindless pop ditties; this material is straight from his life, and should be an eye-opener to anyone who hasn't accidentally encountered the reclusive musician's infrequent forays into the music world — a world he seems satisfied to take in small doses, at the times and places of his choosing.
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