Monday, May 17

Jim Ward is Pretty Good, Too

Artist: The Tallest Man On Earth
Album: The Wild Hunt

Comments: I don't usually go for singer songwriters. Too often I find their music to be self-indulgent, repetitive, devoid of ideas and delivered in a voice that is either emotionally absent, or so overwrought that I want to hurl my fist into someone's face. I don't like to chill out, man, so take that flaccid bullshit back to the beach bonfires and high-school basement parties.

Of course, there are a few exceptions to my distaste. Take, for example, the sparse and powerful tunes of The Tallest Man On Earth, whose latest album The Wild Hunt is like honey for my ears. By combining simple, enigmatic lyrics with an ethereal, almost rustic songwriting sense, the album is both familiar and excitingly new.

No, TTMON isn't re-inventing folk music; it is still just a man and a guitar singing about love through the lens of observation and fantasy. Still, it is hard to remember anyone doing it as convincingly, as enjoyably, as free of excess or pretense.

Maybe it is simpler than even that. Maybe there is just enough joy to be taken in a man who sings bravely and strongly, taking no time to whimper or whisper or wail. Surely one can just draw on the guitar playing, which is confident and firm despite its relative simplicity. Maybe it's just enough that the pretty songs are pretty, the rocking songs rock, and the lyrics are specifically ambiguous enough to apply to any situation.

Still, I say there is more. There is a comfort in The Wild Hunt, a domesticity, like meeting an old friend and finding them exactly as they were. And while the album will not yield new surprises on repeat listens, it will settle into your bones with all the warmth of November apple cider. Take note, young acoustic guitar players: this is what to shoot for.

Key Tracks: King of Spain, Love is All, You're Going Back, Troubles be Gone

Buy, Steal, Skip: Buy

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