Ian Matthews / Elliott Murphy

La Terre Commune

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A collaboration stemming from longtime mutual admiration, Iain Matthews and Elliott Murphy find more than a little common ground on La Terre Commune. With each contributing four songs to covers of Bob Dylan's "Blind Willie McTell," Bruce Springsteen's "Sad Eyes," and Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness," the two succeed in creating a seamlessly cohesive song cycle. Allowing each other to stake out his own territory in the recording process, Murphy and Matthews complement each other extremely well, not just vocally, but stylistically. Though generally soaked in a contemporary folk-rock aesthetic, their collaboration rocks with heartland soulfulness when not visiting the more pensive moments of Murphy's "Navy Blue" and "Dusty Roses." Similarly, Matthew's "Close to the Bone" recalls the homespun folkiness of Neil Young with its starkly languid tones. Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill's "The Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" is given a menacing Tom Waits-like feel, with Matthews employing his best raspy growl. Overall, Murphy and Matthews achieve a rare synergy that is mutually gratifying for both songwriters.

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