Local Wire

Matt the Electrician

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 (matttheelectrician.com), features beautifully finger-picked acoustic guitar with rural blues overtones, Celtic- and jazz-tinged violin, lightly struck drums, and yearningly pretty female vocal harmonies.
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Mark Keresman