"Wow! What a pleasant surprise to find a ‘new’ side of someone’s music I thought I knew. Flight Plans is wonderful – Max Highstein should be justly proud. Instantly enticing, from the bouncy ‘Living In A Box’ through to the silly ‘Spam Song’. Good doses of humor and personal depth – all in a melodic and charming package... As for sound, it is extremely well recorded." -- Frosty Horton, Mediameld
"Max Highstein is an ambient composer, teacher, and intuitive healer, appreciated for his vast contribution to New Age music. But up until Flight Plans we've never heard him sing (unless you've been lucky enough to see him in concert), and now Highstein fans can step back in awe. Flight Plans sounds like a step back in time for Highstein's sweet, soft, but mature and assured voice has the same touching sense of open-hearted spirit and aural ambition that was big in the days of 1970s FM radio via artists like James Taylor, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, and Dan Fogelberg. A loose song cycle about the longing to fly and the weights that sometimes hold us down, Flight Plans is at once deeply personal and universal: one man's spiritual longing and triumphs shared through music.
Songs like the sparkling "Anniversary Dance" have a comforting sing-along feeling that recalls music from South Africa. There's even a marimba solo to go with the cheerful chorus, which sings, "Light up / Your heart / Light up / Your life," as well as Spanish guitars, piano, accordion, and a full choir. "Nature" finds Highstein singing chirpy and cheerful about "stones and bits between the bricks / The Patches and the rocks," as he strolls through nature with the help of a merry accordion and barrelhouse piano, underscored by a moody cello and highlighted by a bright-eyed soprano sax.
Songs are varied in tempo if sharing the same smooth, adult folk-rock style, as in the jubilant high-energy of "Peel Me Off the Ceiling," but Highstein's expertise is clearly in the meditative ballads, where his lyrical insight and gentle songcraft come to the fore. On the deeply emotional, piano-driven confessions of "Roll Me to Sleep," the music flows with inspired piano, cello, fretless bass, and a profound sense of ennui right at home on a 1970s mellow-rock album. We've lost a lot of heart and feeling in our music since those days, a time when men were able to open up their hearts and souls in their music and still be resonantly masculine. When Highstein sings, "Release me from all that is wrong in this world / Allow me to take to the air," you realize he’s done just that for you; together you're off in the clouds, so don't look down." -- DailyOm.com