The Tallest Man On Earth

TMOE_byCameron-Wittig

I can’t believe its been seven years since The Tallest Man on Earth, aka Kristian Matsson, released Shallow Grave. Matsson came out of the gate sounding like a youthful Dylan. The follow-up, The Wild Hunt was solid but mostly similar to Shallow Grave. I slowly lost interest in TMOE which tends to happen with me and singer/songwriters. Frankly speaking, his third album, There’s No Leaving Now came and went, barely registering on my radar.

So when Dark Bird Is Home was announced, I shrugged it off. I don’t even think I clicked on the email to hear the first track. It wasn’t until the combo of a Shirk text and a Strand of Oaks tweet hit me that I decided to give this album a spin. And holy smokes, was I blown away?

I won’t Dark Bird is Home to Dylan going electric at Newport; but I will use his good friend Tim Showalter as comparison. I believe that Tim, aka Strand of Oaks, fully found his voice when he brought in a band. That allowed Tim, and now Kristian to use sonic palettes that prior were left unused. Helping Matsson flesh his sound is HearYa favorite BJ Burton, the man behind taking Stu McLamb of The Love Language from bedroom project to full realized band,

The album was born from the ashes of Matsson’s divorce. Needless to say that life on the road is tough on performers and their families. Field Report dug into that on his latest, Marigolden and Matsson doesn’t shy from that either. That lends the album to starting off under a dark cloud and slowly coming out of the fog. The slow build leads to the time tested adage, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

The three songs in the middle are the heart of the album. Little Nowhere Towns beings with just a piano melody and Matsson before a backing vocal arrangement makes a cameo, taking the tune to another level. Sagres is an unadulterated pop melody that Matsson & Burton handle wonderfully. It is the tune that is Matsson’s personal phoenix and that is followed up by Timothy, which I can only hope was inspired by Showalter.

I expected this album to pass me by with no fanfare. Instead it has become one of my favorites of 2015.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Tallest Man on Earth is here.

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The Tallest Man On Earth released a new EP in iTunes today without any fuss. Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird was written entirely after The Wild Hunt. “Like The Wheel” has been the closing song to many of his shows and it quickly became a fan fav.

The Tallest Man On Earth – Like The Wheel

Fan Video: The Tallest Man On Earth – Like The Wheel

Tracklisting:

  1. Little River
  2. The Dreamer
  3. Like the Wheel
  4. Tangle in This Trampled Wheat
  5. Thrown Right at Me

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tallest man on earth

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.

MySpace | Dead Oceans

The Tallest Man On Earth – King Of Spain

The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt

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The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth ended up in my music library just in time to find a place in our Top 50 albums of 2008. Unfortunately, Shallow Grave is a grower.‚  It would have climbed higher if we’d had more quality time together. The Tallest Man On Earth and I have now been intimate and I’m please to announce that his music is titillating. I hope that was as awkward to read as it was to write.

Here’s his bio:

I am The Tallest Man on Earth. so tall I have a feeling that my funeral will be expensive, they’ll have to saw my body in half and put the two parts in separate graves. I guess some people will mourn the top part, some the bottom.

For those that haven’t been introduced to the man behind the moniker, he’s a Swedish folky named Kristian Matsson. I know what you may be thinking. Another singer-songwriter, Oz? I admit to having a soft spot for solo folk songwriters, but it’s because I’m a fan of quality lyrics and storytelling – and good ole fashioned finger-picking. The Tallest Man On Earth’s fingers dance along the guitar strings and, without pretense or arrogance, he delivers stunning poetry with a weary, youthful voice that’s wise beyond its years. Here’s a sample from the album’s title track:

Come see the sadness of the sailor
As I will scratch his deep blue floor
Already in my years of bad luck
Oh, I broke his mirror long before

Oh when I dive into the water
I’ve raised the bottom to be saved
It’s just a shallow grave

I found the darkness in my neighbor
I found the fire in the frost
I found the season once claimed healthy
Oh, I need the guidance of the lost

The album is a consistent body of work from start to finish, so if you like these tracks, you’ll dig all of Shallow Grave.‚  It’s available on eMusic and the usual suspects.

The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found

The Tallest Man On Earth – Into The Stream

The Tallest Man On Earth – Pistol Dreams

Video: Where Do My Bluebird Fly



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Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 41-50]

December 15, 2008

Choosing 50 albums from a single year should not be excruciatingly painful, but it is.‚  I know I’ll have regrets as soon as this list goes live.‚  Thanks to Woody for providing commentary and some healthy debate as we’ve waded our way through the music of 2008. Let’s get started, shall we? 41. The Steeldrivers […]

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