Birds is the first collection of solo instrumental compositions by Dobro virtuoso Lloyd Thayer. The album features 17 acoustic soundscapes all played on lapstyle guitar, meaning, the guitar is played flat in the lap and fretted with a metal bar. Thayer's playing is rooted in the tradition of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and other Takoma artists, but also contains deep echoes of an older, outsider group of players from the 1920s like Sylvester Weaver and Frank Hutchinson. From the regal beauty of songs like "Great Blue Heron" or "War Never Ends" to the haunting, mysterious richness of "February Grebe" and "24 Hours," lloyd's playing covers a wide range of emotions and moods. "Riding the Rails" and "Lost Oystercatcher" feature some beautiful work on the Weissenborn guitar, which is just one of a variety of guitars used on the CD, including a 1929 National Squareneck Tricone, a Dobro made of fiberglass, and a 12 string acoustic guitar specially modified to be played lap style. Perhaps the high point of the album is the eighth song, "Hijaz Mojo." At just over 8 minutes long, this piece is an improvisation on National Steel Guitar in the ancient Middle Eastern Maquam or scale called "Hijaz," which is popular throughout the Arab world. Lloyd's study of Middle Eastern and classical Indian musics shines through on this piece, which crosses the line between cultures with graceful fluidity. The CD also features some agressive right-hand picking work on the 12 string on songs like "Mississippi Ripposaurus" and "Charles River Rag.' Finally, Birds comes to a close with the powerful and expressive "UnitedStatesofAmnesia," a one-take, one-time improvisation that perfectly sums up Thayer's mastery of his chosen instrument. Honed during endless hours on subway platforms in his native Boston, Thayer's playing reaches new heights on this CD, and pushes the boundaries of what can be done on a Dobro. In fact, many of the songs on this CD grew out of improvisations played while waiting for the next group of subway commuters to arrive. A beautiful work from start to finish, Birds is played from the heart and soul by a master artist, with intensity and emotion, and is for lovers of acoustic music everywhere.