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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Phosphorescent:Here's To Taking It Easy(2010)

To say that I worship Phosphorescent would be a massive understatement! When I heard the first record(A Hundred Times Or More), I knew that Matthew Houck was a talent to be reckoned with. Coming from a rural town in Alabama, he seemed to capture what that state looks like within his songs. For those of you not of the south, that's probably hard to understand, but if you could hear red clay roads, and kudzu growing, it'd probably sound a lot like Phosphorescent. On the early records some people thought that Matt was impersonating Will Oldham, due to his screechy delivery, never did the two sound alike to me. On the last two releases(Pride, and For Willie) his songwriting has met epic proportions, and the man Willie Nelson, said that the song Cocaine Lights was the best song he never wrote. Willie invited Matt and the rest of the band to play last years Live Aid, where they were joined on stage by Mr. Nelson and Neil Young, sounds like a career defining moment to me. I was wondering what kind of direction that they would go in after last years all cover tribute to Willie Nelson? Well the answer is.....more country, some horns, better production, and best of all....some of the best songs Matt has ever written.

Here's To Taking It Easy officially comes out on May 11th, and I wouldn't hesitate to go and pick up a copy on that very day, it's that damned good. It starts with "It's Hard To Be Humble(When Your From Alabama)" a horn-laden rocker that sounds like a lost song from The Rolling Stones "Exile On Mainstreet". Other highlights include "Heaven, Sittin Down", which is a honky-tonk barnstormer, that I can't quit listening to. "Los Angeles" is a 9 minute epic that is the sonic cousin to the aforementioned "Cocaine Lights", and is probably influenced by Kris Kristofferson. "We'll Be Here Soon" is one of those sad songs that only Matt can write, and make you feel uplifted despite the tone of the song. The only song that I don't love is the semi-experimental "Hej, Me I'm Light", and that one will probably grow on me as well. This is the first Phosphorescent record that I loved immediately, usually I have to spend a long time with them, this one is love at first listen. If you like Rolling Stones(the Country-Honk period), Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, The Eagles(early period), or Gram Parsons, I don't think that you could go wrong with this record. If you don't like it, then you know you at least supported a band that are talented, and genuinely nice guys.

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