The Tallest Man on Earth
There’s nothing quite as mesmerizing as one man and his guitar. Anyone that can manage to hold someone’s attention for a long period of time, with just a guitar and his singing voice, to me transcends most other artists today. There’s no computers. No fancy effect pedals. No over producing. There’s not even a drummer. Yet beautiful music is made and captivates so many in such a basic, down-to-earth, heartfelt fashion. The man that I’m speaking of, in this case, is named Kristian Matsson. He’s better known as The Tallest Man on Earth.
I came to learn about him only in the past year. His album “The Wild Hunt” will no doubt be in my top 10 albums of 2010. The comparisons to Bob Dylan are inevitable. He has the same nasally snarl that Bob had back in his heyday. He plays beautiful folk songs about love and death, captivity and freedom. But there’s so much more to this Tallest Man. First off, he’s from Sweden. Secondly, he can captivate an audience in this day in age where attention deficits run rampant and talking during concerts has become the norm. I saw him at the TLA in Philadelphia this past Saturday, and he really did blow me away with the simple beauty of his one man show.
When I first listened to “The Wild Hunt,” I was hooked right away. I knew I had to see this guy for myself to find out what kind of live magic he could rain down. Of course I checked to see if he’d be around and he was, in fact, in town the next day. Of course it was sold out, being the tiny upstairs venue at The World Cafe. I would get my chance to see him though, at The TLA. A much larger venue which had it’s negatives. First off, I don’t know if the fact that he goes by The Tallest Man on Earth that he then attracts fans which are extremely tall in stature or if it’s just a coincidence. But there were more guys over six feet tall at this concert than any other show I’ve ever been to. No lie. It was kinda weird, and it made it hard to see sometimes. But such is life. Also the crowd was very noisy at times, as tends to be the case nowadays. An intense folk act like Tallest Man demands quiet and attention. He got it though. Many times when a group of folks would be talking he would stare them down. Not in a mean way, just enough that they realized that they were interrupting the show.
He was extremely social with the crowd. He had to retune his guitar alot and you could tell he was uncomfortable when he was on stage and not playing. He made up for it as soon as he starting into the next song. I’m comfortable in my manhood, and I don’t feel strange at all when I say that he was quite adorable throughout. The most adorable moment of the show came when special guest Amanda Bergman came up on stage and did a duet with him. I was lucky enough to record the moment. The song is off of his new EP “Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird.” It’s more quality stuff from him that you should check out if you haven’t already.
I really can’t imagine what he could do with these songs fleshed out with a full band. I hope he decides to go that direction at some point. But for now I’ll continue to be mesmerized by this one man, and his guitar.