#25 on the 2010 Musical Bacon Calendar
The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
This past Memorial Day I had the distinct pleasure of basking in the glory that is the Gorge in Eastern Washington for three days of musical bliss, otherwise known as Sasquatch! (The exclamation point is part of the festival’s name.) I got to see a number of bands I’d heard of but was unfamiliar with beyond their name. At the end of the weekend I was left with a new appreciation for a handful of them.
The Tallest Man on Earth was at the top of the heap. The moniker of Sweden’s Kristian Matsson, The Tallest Man on Earth played by himself on the medium-sized stage at Sasquatch!, in front of a couple thousand people. I wrote of his performance:
I’ve seen a number of folk artists at festivals over the years attempt to pull off the “lone-person on stage” bit — no backing band, no excesses, just a man and a guitar — but Matsson is the only one to ever actually succeed. His style of singing, somewhat Bob Dylan meets Tom Waits, with an acoustic guitar and some very strong lyrics about divorce and lost love, was mesmerizing. The crowd quieted down for the entire set, generally silent with rapt attention. He played the first few songs on an acoustic guitar, then moved onto an electric one, but carried through with his quiet fingerpicking throughout the set.
Matsson’s recorded work is a true reflection of this performance. The song heard in the video shown above, for “Love is all” from The Wild Hunt, is very similar to every other song on the album. I imagine his voice, like the voices I compared him to in my Sasquatch! review, polarizes people. Where do you land? I fell in love with the rawness of his voice and his lyrics, and his ability to command a stage. Watch the video above, head over to his MySpace page and give “King of Spain” a listen, and then just try to resist running out and picking up the album.
26. Lisbon by The Walkmen
27. Scratch My Back by Peter Gabriel
28. All Day by Girl Talk
29. A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head by Bobby Bare Jr.
30. 03 to TEN by Knathan Ryan
31. In This Light On This Evening by Editors