Scott Matthews

Passing Stranger

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Singer/songwriter Scott Matthews released a debut album full of bluesy rock songs, ranging from radio-friendly "Passing Stranger" to the Eastern tinged, quiet folk of "Earth to Calm," in April 2006 on his own co-owned label. Matthews recorded the album himself independently, had it mastered by Ray Staff in London, released it, and shortly thereafter Island picked up on it. There is a surreal, dreamlike quality to the album, partly due to Matthews' voice (which is often double-tracked), and partly due to the music that slides in and out of the mix, with little snippets of jams, songs, and strange instruments thrown in between songs (think The Hour of Bewilderbeast, but less pop). The opening lines of "Elusive" bear a resemblance to Jeff Buckley's work on Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk. Matthews, however, has a lot more dirt in his voice than Buckley -- he's an earthier, calmer singer -- and sometimes he even manages to evoke a Moby Grape-like sound, or the music Eddie Vedder did for the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. The acoustic rhythm tracks that Matthews lays down -- think Eric Clapton Unplugged -- provide a fine backdrop to his singing. All in all, this is a well-crafted album full of good songs, and an impressive debut.

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