March 10, 2014
Matt Sowell - The Deadman's Rag
Matt Sowell starts The Deadman's Rag with patience and space. The sparse and wide open piece, "Dusty Road" puts this listener out in the middle of nowhere, the sky dominating the landscape. Eventually the agoraphobia fades, the road feels right and the traveler gets on down that Dusty Road.
Sowell's effort features 13 solo pieces, all penned by Sowell himself. Dusty Road is performed on a Weissenborn in open G tuning. The album is also peppered with 6 string and 12 string pieces.
As you would expect, there's lots of open tunings to be found, what you might not expect is Sowell plays a lot of them on Gibson guitars. "Walking the Tracks" is a contemplative and yet somehow playful piece in open D, played on a Gibson J-180.
Recorded with a variety of mikes, these tracks are nonetheless cut as a single track, no overdubs. "Wild horses on the Hills of the dead" is played in EAC#EAC# and it isn't as dark and ominous as the title might imply. For me, just the right amount of dissonance.
The 2nd half of the album is full of songs titled as rags, the kind you might expect, short and crisp and some you might not. "Dead Man's Rag" clocks in at 8:35 minutes and is full of variation as Sowell works his way through the iterations (nicely separated by space) of his work. It's played on a Takamine 12 string with just the right amount of slide work.
Click HERE to get on over to Sowell's Bandcamp