The Tallest Man on Earth: New Album, New Tour
It’s been a while since the world had a fresh hero to champion the immortal spirit of folk music. Aside from the genre-mingling artists of the last two decades, few bona fide folk idols have emerged to carry on the sacred mission of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and their ilk, who recognized the romantic and burning social necessity of the style. But Kristian Matsson recognizes it; you can hear it in the raw, knifelike nasality of his vocals and the intensity of his guitar strokes. After all, Matsson has been widely compared to Dylan, Guthrie, and Nick Drake. He cites these folk masters and many more as influences of his music, which he writes and self-records under the memorable moniker, The Tallest Man on Earth.
A New Folk Sensation
After completing two studio albums, the 29-year-old Swede captured worldwide attention with his compelling tunes. He now returns for the third strike, There’s No Leaving Now. With a combination of power and soft beauty, Matsson’s new album is a haunting exhibition of that childish phase when the artist learns that fear is the lifeblood of creation – very reminiscent of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
His preceding album, The Wild Hunt, shows Matsson challenging fear with a joyful sort of savagery. This approach appears in the sharp vigor driving his fingers and the way his lyrics and voice cut deep into the listener. Lyrics like, “I will stand down in the hallway with no thought to leave the set / Of a movie I will sure as hell not end just yet,” trigger a longing to join him in the fight. He also finds the time to assert his individualism in an inventive and rebellious way, as present in the decidedly bitter song “King of Spain.” In Hunt, Matsson swears by John Darnielle’s assertion that "The whole point of playing an acoustic guitar is not to unplug. It's to get raw and draw blood."
The New Album
But There’s No Leaving Now applies a far gentler tone to those same struggles, suggesting the songwriter has evolved personally as much as creatively. Where he once battered at the world’s chaos, The Tallest Man on Earth holds up his head and embraces the fear that drives the music. The new album feels like looking at the same person through diffused lenses; even strummy, jaunty songs, like “1904” or “Wind and Walls,” are softened around the edges. Matsson’s melodic fingerpicking rings with the peace of acceptance and his characteristic wandering.
Not only are the lyrics on this album more tranquil and grounded, the artist also explores new instrumental territory on Leaving. Opting out of his distinctive nothing-but-me-and-my-guitar sound, Matsson has added piano, woodwinds, bass, and even some drums to augment his prodigious guitar skills, which have only improved since The Wild Hunt. The fingerpicking speed on songs like “Little Brother” and “Leading Me Now” will astound even hardcore fans. Matsson has also clearly grown in the singing department, expanding his range and ability, as well as incorporating new nuances in vocal play. Best examples of this are “Little Brother,” “Wind and Walls,” and the title track, a melancholy piano ballad that showcases his raw talent and emotion.
To promote this evocative modern folk album, The Tallest Man on Earth launched a summer tour in late July that will hit twenty-one American cities, twenty-five European cities, and several stops in Canada. Matsson will also play a few festivals along the way, including Lollapalooza in Chicago and the legendary Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. Poignant Philadelphia songwriter Tim Showalter, who plays under the stage name Strand of Oaks, will join The Tallest Man on tour for twenty-two of his shows.
When it comes to the live concert experience, you can’t do much better than this charismatic and talented artist. Visit ConcertTickets.com and find tickets for all of The Tallest Man on Earth shows, as well as hundreds of other amazing artists. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out.