Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Tallest Man on Earth: "Sometimes the Blues are Just a Passing Bird "

Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford

Every period in your life has a soundtrack of sorts. This summer, The Tallest Man on Earth was on mine. I had a lot of time off--rich person amounts of time off--and more than a few afternoons were spent lying around listening to The Wild Hunt, and doing little else. I mean, after a hard day of volunteering, obviously. For, like, the kids in the wheelchairs... with the...illnesses. So sad. 

So yeah, while I was totally about those wheelie kids, I also spent a lot of time enjoying Kristian Matsson's work. The intimate, deep-south inspired pop-folk album was perfect for lazy, sunny afternoons. Expecting a followup, I was excited for the new EP.

My enthusiasm waned for just a moment when I learned that the album is going by Sometimes the Blues are Just a Passing Bird because...well, dammit, that is a terrible title. It is an awkward mouthful and impossible to remember. It is a bad date title. Thankfully the album itself has a lot more grace and charm. Though it really can't be said to be a follow up album to The Wild Hunt. Matsson's trademark raw, Dylanesque vocals are as vulnerable and hopeful as ever, but there is definitely a darker, more caged feeling to Sometimes. While the last album was deep, it was also upbeat, uplifting. This time around there are no pick-me-ups. To be honest, despite its beauty I was glad it clocked in at just 17 and a half minutes and five songs. With lyrics like: “I said oh my Lord, why am I not strong? Like a branch that keeps, hangmen hanging on, like a branch that will take me home” it's some emotionally dense stuff and some days that's all you can take.  Admirably, it manages to never cross the line to dreary, but there is definitely something more wistful, more brooding, and more wounded this time around.

This isn't a warm summer album. This is one is colder for the winter months and darker days. Seems appropriate enough and I'll be listening to it.  

After I do my work for the sick kids in the skichairs, of course.

01 Little River by Mr. Shuffleupagus

03 Like the Wheel by Mr. Shuffleupagus

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