American Bluegrass fans first became aware of mandolinist Akira Otsuka as a member of the groundbreaking Japanese band Bluegrass 45. Since those days he has been a very busy player in combination with many of the biggest stars in bluegrass and country music.
First Tear is a variegated collection of original instrumentals and driving bluegrass workouts with various vocalists and players, including David Grier, Mike Mumford, Rickie Simpkins, Bill Kirchen and Kenny Smith. Akira is a very talented instrumentalist and has surrounded himself with some equally talented musicians helping to make First Tear a highly enjoyable recording.
— Tom Druckenmiller