The Tallest Man On Earth - Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird
Label: Dead Oceans
Format: Vinyl, 12", EP, 45 RPM
Includes a coupon for digital download
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
A1 Little River
A2 The Dreamer
B1 Like The Wheel
B2 Tangle In This Trampled Wheat
B3 Thrown Right At Me
Written-By, Performer, Recorded By – Tallest Man On Earth, The
Barcode and Other Identifiers
On a Thursday afternoon, unemployed yet tired, I sat fidgety in the storefront window of 816 Pint N' Slice, watching the wind storm blow the businessmen around as I gummed away my last three dollars, perfectly satisfied by the glow of pepperoni grease. Earlier in the day I'd invested in the brand new EP from Sweden's Tallest Man On Earth, Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, certain that it would leave me as simultaneously impressed and bored as his recent LP, The Wild Hunt. But, instead, sitting in grease and wind as opener "Little River" flowed through my head, I felt alright. Still hungry but happy as the song played on, instantly my new favorite from the man so many were calling Dylan. The Skinny Little Man from far away who sang with an American accent and the power of a writer with a clear talent for melody and timeless verse.
For the unfamiliar, TMOE is Kristian Matsson, a normal-sized 27 year old songwriter from Dalarna, Sweden. Having earned a small but fervent fanbase while touring with Bon Iver (at the height of the Bon Iver buzz, no less), Matsson's star has been brightening ever since, his recent record, the aforementioned The Wild Hunt, earning some of the best reviews of 2010. Known foremost for his raspy-yet-joyful voice and spare, fingerpicked compositions, TMOE is two albums (and now two EPs) deep into his campaign for World's Best Young Songwriter. Me? Well, I was instantly impressed by the writing and vocals when I heard TMOE's debut, Shallow Grave, a couple of years ago. That said, I felt that the sparseness of the compositions - not to mention the similarities to early Dylan - proved to be limiting.
But here I sit, feeling the fall roll in on Calhoun Street, perfectly soundtracked by Matsson's beautiful "The Dreamer." Color me converted, this normal-sized singer with the big voice has won me over. "The Dreamer," the first plugged-in song I've heard from Matsson, is one heck of a song, anchored by a perfect vocal performance that feels way too tender to be compared to the early angst of Dylan. The writing, too, is memorable and tender, somehow topping the very strong opener. Man, I gotta get home from this pizza joint and revisit The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave once this howl settles.
Track three, "Like the Wheel," keeps things moving, feeling like the third straight classic on the EP. If this mellow, perfectly written offering isn't one of the very best songs of 2010, well, please direct me toward the Better Thans. Don't be surprised if your favorite local - and likely national - songwriters are covering this tune for years to come. Again, I don't feel the Dylan influence too much; instead, this song's tender and delicate nature reminds me of the softer moments from Eef Barzelay's catalog.
And so on. You get it, I spent a day broke and happy, listening to what might be my favorite new songwriter in the middle of a downtown wind storm. A later inspection of the man's back catalog also went well, though it's certainly this EP, Matsson's most diverse work yet, that tops the heap. No songwriter in 2010 will release a leaner, meaner, more gracefully written 17 minutes of folk music. His once-simple sound now taking its careful time to evolve, I can't hardly wait to see what Tallest Man On Earth has next up his skinny sleeve. Windy fall seasons of future years wait with me at the pizza place, ready for poetic verse and detailed vocal.
The Tallest Man On Earth - Thrown Right At Me
Tallest Man on Earth - the brigter side of so called globalisation; Viking from Sweden is successful in the American folksy repertoire.
The Tallest Man on Earth - Like The Wheel
one of the best songwriters of our generation
Every single song from him is a masterpiece ... thats all Ive got to say
The Tallest Man On Earth - The Dreamer
This one is magic. He is sending chills right down my spine.
A pure music genius, so chill and lovely sounds, and also very beautiful lyrics in all of his songs