Guitar player magazine, July 1995
Truly a solo album, these eight tracks are compositionally advanced and restlessly imaginative. Workman’s thickly layered tunes orchestrate nylon-string, solid body, guitar synth, and E-bow into complex, shifting pieces that funnel a zillion influences-from Holdsworth to The Beatles-into a compelling whole.
Dave Gregory, XTC
Lyle Workman’s astonishing album Purple Passages reveals a musician of consummate skill, creativity and taste. He virtually single-handedly crafts a great bunch of tunes with meticulous care, abandoning the usual guitar hero cliches in favor of melody, texture, and feel. Purple Passages should put Lyle Workman’s name on anybody’s list of favorite players – he’s already on mine.
Robin Tolleson, contributing editor for Billboard, Downbeat, and Musician:
From the breathtaking to the sublime and all points in-between, Workman is musical and sure on this stunning debut. His timely melodic flair, powerful chops, and overriding sense of fun in it all give Workman a voice that rings out above the crowd.
Guitar Techniques, August 1995
The press release for this album is extraordinary, with ravings from artists as diverse as Vernon Reid, XTC, and jazz drummer Tony Williams. So who is this Lyle Workman? Well, he’s sessioned for Todd Rundgren and Jellyfish, but he’s also a composer of highly original instrumental music, some of which is on this album. Some of the cuts are very intricate and complex, but the melody always comes first. Highlights include multifaceted Lionhearted, Metheny influenced East Of the Sun and haunting Bygones. Workman’s music transcends the usual rock, folk, ethnic and jazz boundaries. Definitely a cut above your usual instrumental guitar album! Star rating: ***1/2
Guitar, September 1995
Talk about an esoteric resume; guitarist Lyle Workman has recorded with Bourgeois Tagg, Frank Black, Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish and Jude Cole. So, what does his music sound like? None of the above. Workman is a impressive, rock-schooled player with the rhythmic blood of a jazz man, the conceptual savvy of a orchestrator, and the multi-instrumental talents of a dedicated studio nerd, and his highly developed compositions are laden with majestic guitar work and a rich melodic lyricism.
Vintage Guitar Magazine
Even if you don’t know Lyle Workman by name, you’ve probably heard his guitar on occasion… This instrumental CD gives him a chance to show off his chops and compositional skills. The opener Lionhearted, is a tour-de-force that highlights his strengths. It covers the gamut from loud metalesque flourishes to beautifully worked out two and three-part solos, to melodic single line soloing. And finally, to a nice acoustic finish with a nice overdriven solo cut. And that’s just the beginning. There’s some nice reflective Pieces, like Bygones, which features Workman on both electric and acoustic. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is a nice rolling piece with sitar and spacey, floating solo section in the middle. The title cut melds together with Exiled in Paradise to form a beautiful semi-suite of sorts… Workman manages to put his craft, sprit and compositional skills together to become a fresh voice on guitar. Definitely worth checking out.