At 5’7”, Kristian Matsson can hardly be considered tall. The Swedish songwriter has often been compared to Bob Dylan, and rightfully so. His songs are relatively simple, extremely folksy, and his lyrics are made of heavy stuff, much like many of Dylan’s works. However, Matsson’s vocal range is, let's say, a bit broader than the famed American songwriter’s, and this third studio album, There’s No Leaving Now, proves that this little man is more than a Dylan duplicate.
That being said, There’s No Leaving Now isn’t a total 180 from Matsson’s previous albums. Many of the tracks feature the uncomplicated guitar chords and poetic verses that have defined Matsson as an artist. But in the title track of the album, Matsson’s guitar is replaced by a piano and it kind of threw me off for the first few seconds I was listening, since I’m pretty sure that I’ve only heard one other song by Matsson that features a piano in lieu of a guitar. It’s a deeply beautiful and somber piece, and it turned out to be my favorite song on the album. “Wind And Walls,” with its upbeat twang and fast tempo, is a close second.
The rest of the album sounds a lot like how I expect The Tallest Man on Earth to sound, which isn’t a bad thing. Matsson’s simplicity is what makes him great—his lyrics are always so poignant because there aren’t jumbles of background noise competing for attention. He’s one of my favorite folk musicians, so I would have been disappointed if he had totally abandoned his Dylan-esque style for something more musically complex. However, some change and growth is good. And Matsson sprinkled in just enough new surprises to satisfy me.
Performance: Contemporary Photography from the Douglas Nielsen Collection. Presenting more than 100 works from the private collection… More