Matt Keating’s lengthy time off since his previous album, 1997’s fine Killjoy, has been spent looking for a new record deal. After landing one in Europe, he decided to release this album independently in his native USA last year, and it’s a good thing that the fine Future Farmer eventually picked it up and now gives it a proper re-release. Keating earned himself a small but devoted following with the series of albums he released around the mid-nineties, and this one — easily one of his finest — should see a few more stepping up.
A brave and mature artist, Keating is one of the truly unique voices of the new wave of singer-songwriters. Like Mark Kozelek, he is not afraid of blending stripped-down acoustic folk with more outreaching and extrovert Americana, and he conjures up images of everyone from Dylan to Elliott Smith, from Giant Sand to Mark Eitzel — and everyone in between. Considered and unassuming, the songs are delivered in such a casual manner that at times it’s hard to actually notice the greatness of them until they sneak up on you after several listens. This album demands your full attention and is well worth it. A welcome and convincing return after too many years away.
Future Farmer Recordings: http://www.futurefarmer.com