Matthew Solberg – I Am A Fool EP
free album (download), self-released 2009
[tags: acoustic, folk, indie flavor, free ep, 2009]
Listen while reading:
Brought to my attention by the non-stop bloggin’ folk blogger Tunesmith over at Call It Folk, I found Matthew Solberg and his debut EP from 2009 I Am A Fool that’s given away for free on his website. After the melancholic and wintery piano sounds of Nils Frahm it’s high time for some down to earth folk music and the lovely pairing of just acoustic guitar and voice. Matthew hails from Nashville/Tennessee and is currently recording his first full length release that is due to 2010 as it says on his website.
The EP contains 7 songs of finger picked guitar folk and also features two instrumentals (Desirae & Dolores and Liquid Blanket) resulting in a great combination if you like solo acoustic guitar but love some good vocals too. Okay, that’s nothing too special, but there are not many releases out there that have some good instrumentals along with the regular tracks – and if Matthew retains the concept for his upcoming album, I think this will add some extra awesomeness to it. But we’ll see. For now we stay with the EP.
If you like categorizing things (and it seems that I like that a lot) you could call I Am A Fool a country influenced singer-songwriter outlet with some portions of indie flavor. And I think this is also the right place to explain what I mean with the term indie flavor. Okay, it’s not literally an explanation but I think an easy example should do for that. Imagine listening to early J. Tillman recordings, say Long May You Run, J. Tillman. I would not call this indie flavored folk although I would call it down to earth, maybe more down to earth than anything else. And now listen to Benjamin Gibbard & Andrew Kenny’s Home EP. Again, I would call the whole thing down to earth, but now with a great indie flavor to it. Reasons could be the strumming guitar play or the singing style with the melodic and upbeat intonation. Or something like that. And this brings me back to Matthew Solberg who doesn’t play a strumming guitar style but who got the menioned indie like characteristics in his voice which are responsible for me calling the EP indie flavored. Short story long…
What’s conspicuous about the release is its conformity – and I don’t mean the absence of other instruments, I’m talking about the mood of the single songs. Sure, they all got different melodies and they are no rip offs of each other, but even the instrumentals express the same mood: a somehow friendly, “sun is shining after the rain” mood but without the uber intensive “look at this little cute bug, isn’t it cuuuuute” attitude. And there is nothing bad with this, but for I’m more the type that likes the darker, deeper side of emotions in music, it is a bit too shimmering for me at some points. But I don’t want to hold that against the release, maybe it’s not quite the right season of the year right now. Another feature of the tracks, that I really like, are the different tempos of the guitar play. Rainy Nights is one of the slower candidates, whereas the above mentioned Desirae & Dolores or Nothing To Say races from note to note without taking a breath. Me likes that.
To spend an ear on this record, you are in the comfortable situation to download the entire EP for free from Matthew Solberg’s personal homepage (wooohooo!). Physical copies are out of print and not available right know. To gather further impressions, don’t hesitate and visit his MySpace page too. (And remember: you’ll read about Matthew’s debut here on CFM as soon as it hits the road.)