My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #28

Number 28



This debut by Swedish singer/songwriter, Kristian Matsson (who can be known musically as The Tallest Man On Earth) is one of a very few modern releases that can truly be called a “folk” album. Shallow Grave is rooted in nothing but the simple sound of a man and his guitar, inevitably evoking Woody Guthrie, and early, Guthrie-influenced Dylan; but what separates Matsson from the countless folk wannabes that have came out of the woodwork in the decades since the genre was brought to life (and especially in the last ten years, with the emergence of “alt-country”)  is that his music reeks with ingenuity. This is a quick, half-hour set of ten tracks that breathe with the kind of life that are the product of an artist that was born to create true folk music. All music of this kind is forever going to be a student ofwhat has been set in stone in the past. There’s no more room for innovation in folk music, but that’s the point of it all; because not even the creation of folk music was necessarily innovative, but the introduction of a revolving door for a new avenue for artists to become their own storytellers. The only authentic way to respect the true meaning of the genre is to create your own, simple way of being creative when writing these songs, and The Tallest Man On Earth does just that. If you were to have no knowledge of when this record was made, you’d have no disagreements if someone were to mention that it was released around the same time as The Times They Are A-Changin’ and was just overshadowed by the massive success of Dylan. Matsson has done his job right. Because he was born to.

1.I Won’t Be Found
2.Pistol Dreams
3.Honey Won’t You Let Me In
4.Shallow Grave
5.Where Do My Bluebirds Fly
6.The Gardner
7.The Blizzard’s Never Seen the Desert Sand
8.The Sparrow and the Medicine
9.Into the Stream
10.This Wind

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