Matthew Carlson

Cosmic Americana

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The piano and guitar at the beginning of "Adirondack Mountainside" swells into a cozy and soothing folk-pop song. What follows is a staggering debut. On Cosmic Americana, Michigan solo artist Matthew Carlson collaborated with a group of other musicians to showcase his sobering and simple songs. Carlson's steady and restrained vocals lead the way, while Tim Lefevre provides percussion, Leslie Donaldson adds viola, and Dave Baldwin checks in on a variety of instruments, including piano, trumpet, and guitar. The mood grows mysterious on "What to Do" as Hammond organ is added to the mix. The more experimental sounds on "The Last Thirteen Years" are mixed with Carlson's Ben Folds-like vocals over the piano. The playful folk on "Brushed" is followed by the more somber and reflective "The Disciple." The disc comes to an end with the festive "Cry at Angels." In the end, the disc highlights Carlson's poignant lyrics and soulful vocals. Cosmic Americana was produced by Carlson and Lefevre in early 2000 and was released on Phonophore Records later that year.