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Years in the countryside tend to mellow a fellow. It clearly worked on Matt Sharp, who materializes from a four-year hiatus with a haunting acoustic four-song EP titled Puckett's Versus the Country Boy.
If you didn't know Sharp played bass for and co-founded Weezer and created the New Wave pop band the Rentals, you might never make the connection. Stripped down to guitar, well-placed piano and wisps of slide guitar, Country Boy announces Sharp's rebirth in a singer-songwriter guise. With help from former Cake guitarist Greg Brown and Josh Hager, Puckett's sounds like the place it was recorded, far away in the hills of Leipers Fork, Tennessee.
Miles away from Weezer's hyper-nerd rock or the Rentals' Moog mania, the EP is introspective and pretty; Sharp's voice is drawn out, very human and definitely front and center, sounding a little like early Dylan.
Sharp and company toured the material extensively before signing with Portland label In Music We Trust, and at shows they encouraged people to bring pillows and chill onstage with the musicians. This time Sharp again wants people to bring pillows, beanbags or other comfort gear.