Lately I’ve been consumed by preoccupations: a demanding job, a pregnant wife on bed rest for five weeks, a toddler, a dog, a house to maintain, guests visiting every week, a music blog. I’m sprinting so fast that it’s easy to overlook my surroundings and it takes a concerted effort to stop and enjoy a few special moments. The Tallest Man On Earth set me straight.
I started listening to the advanced copy of The Wild Hunt during several commutes in the car. My immediate reaction? I thought “If I mixed these songs with his previous album Shallow Grave, I wouldn’t be able to tell which song belonged to what album.” For some reason, I expected more than his voice and an acoustic guitar. A full band perhaps? Maybe hearing the new album by his folk contemporary, Joe Pug, had me expecting a similar progression beyond strictly solo arrangements.
As I thought about why I loved his previous album, Shallow Grave, I remembered the simplicity of an acoustic guitar, the fingerpicking, Kristian Matsson’s stunning lyrics delivered with grizzled vocals, and the undeniable comparison to Bob Dylan. All present on The Wild Hunt and opened with the title track:
There’s a crow moon coming in where you keep looking now
it is the hollow month of march now sweeping in
Let’s watch phenomenons arise out of the darkness
within the light, she’s my storming heroine.
And all machines abandoned by the ancient races
I hear them humming down below, in hollow earth
I guess I’ve known a while I will go under too
but just for now, I let the spring in storm return
I left my heart to the wild hunt coming
I’ll live until the call
and I plan to be forgotten when I’m gone
I’ll be leaving in the fall
From their Matsson takes you on a jaunt for the changing season. Put on your headphones and be uplifted by “Burden of Tomorrow,” notice the fingerpicking on “The Drying of the Lawns,” “A Lion’s Heart” and “Troubles Will Be Gone.” Hear the piano ballad “Kids on the Run.” Always listen to his words. The beauty of The Tallest Man on Earth is in the details.
And not only the details in his arrangements or lyrics. His music makes you take notice of the details in your surroundings. With my world in a frenzy, somehow is music changed my daily commute.‚ I went from thinking of lists, schedules, preparation, and anxiety to noticing how the Atlanta trees have blossomed and the rolling hills are now lush from Spring. I rolled down the windows and felt the warmth of the sun. My mind went numb and I didn’t think about a thing.
The details are easy to overlook, but if you pay attention, you may find a moment of bliss.
The Wild Hunt is out today via Dead Oceans.
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt