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Úvodní stránka » NOMINATED ARTISTS FOR 2019y. » Scott Matthews — The Great Untold
Scott Matthews The Great Untold (27 April 2018)

Scott Matthews — The Great Untold (27 April 2018)

                  Scott Matthews — The Great Untold (27 April 2018)Scott Matthews — The Great Untold (27 April 2018)•■•      “He’s highly flammable, you dare not strike a single match tonight”. Přestože je tento muž tak frekventovaně a s velkolepostí vytesáván do kamene, zpěvák a skladatel Scott Matthews pořád ještě není dosud známým jménem. Matthewsův životopis je naopak impozantní: v roce 2007 získal Ivor Novello Award za píseň “Elusive” (převzali ji Arctic Monkeys). Následně ji převzala Lianne La Havas do debutového alba “Is Your Love Big Enough?” (2012) a obsadila ním #4 v the UK Albums Chart. S Robertem Plantem je spoluautorem písně “12 Harps” (5:01, z alba Elsewhere) a působil také jako support pro umělce jako jsou Plant s Alison Krauss, Foo Fighters, Rufus Wainwright a Bert Jansch (kytarový styl byl příznivě srovnáván). Domnívám se, že hlasově je v některých polohách téměř k nerozeznání právě od Rufuse (Something Real). A teď jeho šesté album — The Great Untold, to vše snad změní — určitě má pro to mocný a žánr definující appeal. Duch Paula Simona, Rona Sexsmithe, Tima Buckleyho, Nicka Drakea a Johna Martyna laskají i toto dílo, které se odráží ve své donaha svlečené povaze, aby ukázalo, jaký výjimečně silný skladatel Matthews je. Z absence vícevrstvých triků na “The Great Untold” by se však nemělo vyvozovat, že album postrádá hloubku. Bohatství nové práce Scotta Matthewse tkví v něčem jiném. Pochází z propracovanosti jeho kytarové stopy, ovlivněné, podobně jako u Berta Jansche a Marka Kozeleka. Také z toho, že znovu představuje svůj výjimečně poutavý hlas, který infikuje každého člověka na zemi, pokud ho vnímá. V mnoha ohledech je “The Great Untold” pro Scotta počátkem nové éry. Od svého debutového alba “Passing Stranger” v roce 2006 umělec narozený ve Wolverhamptonu dále zdokonalil své řemeslo. Psaní zdánlivě depresivních a citlivých písní během trajektorie, která počala éterickou “Elusive” [13. song na albu Passing Stranger], The Great Untold představuje nový začátek, ale dle jeho vlastních podmínek. První velký oblouk jeho kariéry byl završen duologií — párem alb Home Part 1 + Home Part 2, které až doposud působily jako reflektor na cestě. The Great Untold oplývá zvukem toho samého muže, který v cestě pokračuje. Matthews je čerstvě ženat, brzy zažívá své otcovství a zcela nevyhnutelně oplývá novou nadějí i obavami, teď jde však o kvalitativně zcela nové příběhy. „Po dokončení Home Part 2 jsem se snažil posunout dopředu, když jsem si vzal jako základ své zkušenosti z posledního záznamu. Plán na psaní akustického alba jsem měl před očima vždycky. A koneckonců je to správné.” Matthews jako skladatel se testoval. Začal jako sólista, prošel úplným kruhem, opět připraven k samostatnému letu. Otevírá nové možnosti, jiný typ výzvy. „Uchopí mě z  komfortní zóny a nechává zkoušet samého. Z velké části jsem to chápal jako dialog kytary a vokálu. Na začátku nebylo nic a nikdo jiný. Je ale čas překvapit i sebe samého. Je čas vrátit se do svého světa.” Lyricky “The Great Untold” je dílem s poetickým záměrem. „Je to sbírka skladeb, na které se bude soustřeďovat spousta lidí s nadějí, prověřenou časem a zkušeností. Samozřejmě, že moje počáteční body jsou psány z osobního hlediska, ale většinu času se musím rozšířit, protože nic a nikdo není v nevědomí nebo nezaujat kulturami, nápady nebo národy mimo vlastní zkušenosti, o hudbě to platí mnohem více. Nejsem ostrov. Může to být výzva, ale jsem velmi pyšný na to, kam až jsem se odvážil jít a do těchto písní bylo vdýchnuto spousta energie a hledání ducha, které doufám, lidé ocení. Když píšu, téměř slyším hlasy Mistrů a přemýšlím: „Mohli by to schválit?” Cílem je vytvořit spojení. „Chci někoho pohnout sílou nálady a hudbou samotnou.” Co k tomu dodat? Jistěže, je to v té pravé ruce. Jeho kytarový styl je lehký a krystalický, jeho doprovodný hlas je bohatý a kontrolovaný, snadno klouzá do svých horních registrů a dodává tak působivost těmto extrémně dobře vytvořeným písním. Vícenásobné doprovody jsou jemné, skladbám vyhovují, avšak přestože album je celkově velmi jemné, tonální variace mohla být snad trochu důraznější. I to může být opoziční vysvětlení pro The Great Untold. Je to však album napsaný mužem na vrcholu svých sil — “As the Day Passes”, “Something Real”, “Song to a Flower” a ohromující “Cinnamon” patří k nejlepším v jeho zpěvníku — a hudebník, schopen zvládnout tu velkou krásu ve svých písních, odhalujících nejvíce lidských pravd. Tady neplatí: všechny módní značky na jednom místě! Je to naopak originální, osobitá cesta muže milujícího srdce. Je to tak, jak zpívá v jedné ze svých písní alba, a zní to jako modlitba k Bohu: „Veď můj svět na hranici, otočím jeden list najednou, nikdy nevím, co najdu.” Poznámka: v květnu a červnu 2018 udělal support pro Madeleine Peyroux.
•■•      „... Angažovaně zahloubaný, ohleduplný, klasický zpěvák a skladatel” — The Guardian
•■•      The Wolverhampton songster heads back home for his new album. Originally planned for release much earlier in the year to coincide with an ostensible launch tour, for reasons unknown things got put back, to which end anticipation will have either increased or, more problematically, waned.
Genre: Acoustic / Blues / Folk Rock / Singer~Songwriter
Born: 1976 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England
Location: Wolverhampton, England
Album release: 27 April 2018
Recorded: Artisan, Birmingham, England
Record Label: Shedio
Duration:    43:55
Tracks:
01 The Great Untold     4:07
02 Lawless Stars     6:11
03 Silence     3:37
04 Something Real     5:19
05 Cinnamon     4:38
06 As the Day Passes     5:27
07 Goodnight Day     3:46
08 Song to a Wallflower     3:41
09 Daydreamer     3:45
10 Chapters     3:24
Review
by Mike Davies 19 April, 2018
★        John Martyn’s true musical heir, Wolverhampton~born Scott Matthews’ studio albums have always featured an array of top~flight musicians, Robert Plant among them. Expanding from the largely acoustic Passing Stranger to a fuller sound, his early live work was always about just him and a guitar, accentuating the blues veining his folk inclinations. For The Great Untold, his sixth, he’s gone back to that basic approach, recording the ten tracks at home and in various rural churches. There is no orchestration, no layered instrumentation, just, for the most part, sparse, minimal piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment and that glorious grainy, otherworldly falsetto weaving a pervasive atmosphere throughout what he describes as “a lot of soul searching”, but also addressing universal concerns and truths.
★        It opens on the title track’s ethereal notes, an introspective, reflective song about the changes he’s been through. He tells of “Trawling the blues under spotlights/Putting my world on the line” and the chapters yet to unfold in addressing the prospect of becoming a  father: “You’ll be mother’s precious gold /And I’ll see new reasons through your eyes.”
★        That same mood infuses the six~minute, tonal shape~shifting Lawless Stars. Redolent of Nina Simon’s reading of Lilac Wine,  it’s a song that again draws on the image of an unborn child in its contemplation of a search for calm and tranquillity. It’s mingled with thoughts of loss and separation in what, at the end of the day, seems to be essentially loneliness of the gigging musician number.
★        The dreamy strum and softly tumbling chorus melody of Silence once again seeks for serenity, “to realign my wayward mind”, to reconnect with self and find an escape from “the daily race you’ll never win/And find a space to reassemble any hopes misplaced.” Musically starlit in a melodically gossamer manner that conjures Jeff Buckley but also romantic reverie sequences from old movies,  Something Real extends that idea of mental turmoil and the palliative power of love “to tame those wild thoughts again”. It also talks of the need to let down the defences because “When someone is bruised and scarred/They wear their armoured heart” as he pleads “Give me something real/That isn’t make believe”, the song swelling to a dying fall.
★        Swimming on gentle keyboard waves, the slow swaying Cinnamon is a particularly sensuous post~coital love song. He sings as “Your warmth in the cold/Lingers with the scent of cinnamon on my clothes/Our bodies radiate to the bone”, a song of sexual healing as “Starlings murmurate/Like clouds of cinders up in smoke.”
★        The sensory imagery of scent returns for As The Day Passes.  It’s a heady, fingerpicked number of Andalusian melodic influences, but here the lyrics are darker. It conjures images of a lament for a love that’s died or remains unrequited, or of a soldier writing home to his mother in what is basically a heartfelt carpe diem message about not holding on to anger until it’s too late to forgive and forget.
★        Echoing such sentiments in its line “I forever long to be seen by your eyes/Your forgiveness is all I need”, as the title suggests, the simple guitar and piano arrangement of Goodnight Day is something of a nocturne. The lyrics again draw on the lonely life of the travelling musician on a desolate road where the rearview mirror shows only “a figure of a man/In the shadow for company.”
★        The final stretch begins with Song To A Wallflower, the spare opening drone gradually building to a relatively fuller arrangement that even has hints of percussion on a beautifully bittersweet poetic lyric about the song’s subject being crushed by a troubled past and the inability to articulate longings and feelings, seeking release in “a woman, paid by the hour…the faker with all the power” as Matthews folds in hints of Catholicism with the line about Mother Mary.
★        With its softly cascading chords, the dreamily fingerpicked Daydreamer brings us back to the album’s overarching theme of seeking escape from the harshness of reality, here emblemised in a woman with “her head stuck in a magazine/Full of posers… A distraction from the things that make her cry.” However, as the arrangement appropriately gathers to include drums and ebow, with Matthews multi~tracking his voice, this is not advocacy for numbing yourself against the world, of not wanting to wake and face it, but rather a reminder of what we let slip by while we “sleep walk on the sand”. It ends with the call to “smell the roses/Their scent will survive the fire.”
★        It ends with Chapters, a harmonica~coloured campfire waltzer about making connections, across distances, across time, and perhaps of the ripples music can make, the meanings it can impart as, in closing, he sings “Come alive and read my heart each time/There’s always a song in sight…”
★        The album has no major variations in mood, no great peaks and troughs in terms of tempo or tone, but the cumulative effect is at once stilling, affirmative and inspiring, as you emerge at the other end as if you’ve been soaking in a bath of aural dead sea salts.  Matthews says that when he’s writing, “I’m almost hearing voices from The Masters and thinking: ‘Would they approve?’” Most assuredly.  ★        http://www.folkradio.co.uk/
Notes:
MIKE DAVIES
★        I wrote for Melody Maker and Sounds in the late 70s, have written for local, national and international music publications and have covered the West Midlands scene in Brum Beat for over 40 years. I currently present Alternative Roots on Brum Radio.
Discography:
★        2006  Passing Stranger  San Remo Records
★        2009  Elsewhere Island / Universal
★        2011  What the Night Delivers Ais / San Remo Records
★        2011  Live in London Ais / San Remo Records
★        2006  Dream Song  7”  Island
★        2014  Home Part 1 San Remo Records
★        2015  Future Forest  San Remo Records
★        2016  Home Part 2 San Remo Records
★        2018  The Great Untold  Shedio
Review
“Putting my world on the line
Turning one leaf at a time
Never knowing what I’ll find”
■•■      Scott Matthews’ new record, ‘The Great Untold’, deserves to be a career defining one. The sixth studio album by the Ivor Novello Award~winning singer~songwriter (Best Song Musically & Lyrically for ‘Elusive’) is a master class in honesty, instinct and reflection. A largely acoustic recording, Matthews’ new record features sparse production after being recorded over a productive winter at home. His ten~song cycle is the sound of a man now entirely comfortable in his own skin, putting his neck on the line with a collection of quietly extraordinary songs.
■•■      The ghosts of Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and John Martyn loom large on a sixth record that revels in its stripped~back nature to show what an exceptionally strong songwriter Matthews really is. The absence of multi~layered instrumentation on ‘The Great Untold’, however, should not infer that it lacks depth. The richness in Matthews’ new work comes from the intricacy of his guitar work, influenced by the likes of Bert Jansch and Mark Kozelek, whilst showcasing again an otherworldly singing voice that betrays an everyman inflection and down~to~earth persona.
■•■      In many ways, ‘The Great Untold’ is the start of a new era for Matthews. Since his debut album, ‘Passing Stranger’, in 2006, the Wolverhampton~born artist has further refined his craft. Writing deft and sensitive songs during a trajectory that began with the ethereal ‘Elusive’, The Great Untold marks a new beginning on his own terms. The first great arc of his career was completed with his Home duology; a pair of records that reflected on his journey thus far. The Great Untold is the sound of that man moving on. Matthews is recently married, soon~to~experience fatherhood and has new hopes and fears, new stories to tell. “After Home Part 2 was finished, I was looking to move forward by marrying harmony with my experiences since the last record. The plan to write an acoustic record has always been there. And finally the time is right to do that.”
■•■      Matthews has tested himself as a songwriter. He started as a soloist and has gone full circle, again ready to fly alone. It opens new possibilities, a different type of challenge. “It takes me out of my comfort zone and has made me test myself. I’ve largely pared it down to guitar and vocals. At the beginning, there was nobody else. It’s time to surprise myself. It’s time to go back to my own world.”
■•■      Lyrically, ‘The Great Untold’ is a work with poetic intent. “It’s a collection of songs that lots of people will hopefully relate to. Naturally, my starting points are from a personal perspective but most times I have to broaden the idea so it’s not so insular as a piece of music. It can be a challenge but I’m very proud of where I’ve ventured to and there’s been a lot of soul searching woven into these songs that I hope people will appreciate. When I’m writing, I’m almost hearing voices from The Masters and thinking: ‘Would they approve?’”
■•■      The point is to make a connection. “I want to move somebody with the power of moods and music.” It is in the right hands. And that’s an opposite description for The Great Untold. It is a record written by a man at the peak of his powers — ‘As The Day Passes’, ‘Something Real’, ‘Song To A Wallflower’ and the stunning ‘Cinnamon’ are amongst the finest in his songbook — and by a musician able to channel great beauty in songs that reveal the most human of truths.
■•■      “...engagingly thoughtful and classy singer~songwriter” — The Guardian
■•■      https://www.prescriptionmusicpruk.com/ 
Website: http://www.scottmatthews.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scottmatthewsuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottMatthewsUK
Soundcloud: http://www.scottmatthews.uk/soundcloud
Label: http://www.shediorecords.com/
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Scott Matthews The Great Untold (27 April 2018)

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