A recurring problem with many Americana/neo-roots-music performers can be summed up thusly: Terminal Earnestness, an affliction that compels a songster to prove how salt-of-the-earth "authentic" s/he is, no matter what graduate program they recently opted out of. Of course, some take the opposite (though equally tedious) tack of Excessive Irreverence, in which a performer takes stylistic verities and exaggerates them, leading to frequent interjections of "yeee-haw
" or singing the way some demented inbred type from The Hills Have Eyes
might sing. I mean, jeez, one of America's greatest folksingers ever is Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and he's from Brooklyn
! Which is why this Austin fellow, Matt the Electrician, is rather refreshing he sings his droll tales of dogs, secret codes, kids, and happy endings in an unassuming, gently bemused voice, somewhat akin to a raspy Paul Simon. His latest opus, One Thing Right
), features beautifully finger-picked acoustic guitar with rural blues overtones, Celtic- and jazz-tinged violin, lightly struck drums, and yearningly pretty female vocal harmonies.