Matthew Kahler

Out of the Blue

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If Shawn Mullins weren't such a talented artist, Out of the Blue would make a fine argument for his career as a producer. To get an idea of his client Matthew Kahler, Mullins is a good starting block. Add to that the colorful and varied inspirations of James Taylor, Al Green, and John Lennon, and you'll have a pretty good picture. That's the scope of Kahler as an artist -- wide. These guys even pull off a very true-to-the-original cover of America's "Sister Goldenhair," complete with the doo-wahs. The first half of Out of the Blue has Kahler wearing his influences on his sleeves. The soul of "Somebody" jumps into "Sister Golden Hair," which slides into the vocal and percussion performance of "Where Sweet Julie Lives" before landing in the power ballad/title track. The second half of the album has a smoother stylistic flow. Drawing from Taylor and maybe Carole King, the songs are mostly acoustic-based, mid-tempo tales of heartbreak and healing. "You (The Speed of Light)," "Africa," and "New Man (Beautiful Day)" are all gorgeous songs. Kahler is a smart songwriter who has a way with a melody, and Mullins does his best to support him musically without getting in the way. Having worked together many times over the years, they make a great team and their voices, both literal and figurative, melt seamlessly into one another. As a further example, Kahler co-wrote several songs on Mullins' Beneath the Velvet Sun, including the single "Everywhere I Go." There's nothing on Out of the Blue that's as shamelessly catchy as that, but it has plenty of goodies to check out.

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