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Wordy UK-born singer-songwriter Matthew Robb (based in Cologne, Germany) has a huge passion for old time country blues. His finger picked acoustic guitar and well-crafted story ballads have seen him travel, extensively across Europe, and gather many an idea for watertight songs.
Recorded at Wabisabi Records in Germany, Robb has James Bragg (electric guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Dave Murrell (bass) plus a number of guests, among whom you have Lance Harrison (slide guitar) and Martin Sasse (piano) aid his songs. Robb’s music varies from the gentle wistful ballads, some more captivating than others to the likes of pulsating tune, “Sinnerman”.
Though it takes him a little while before he proves his (full) worth. Due to some of the slower ballads on first hearing seemed to lack a strong enough melody to elevate his vocals, to a level preferred however, like a good many others worth their salt his music grows on you!
One of Robb’s great strengths is his ability to keep it simple, and not be tempted to over indulge, and keep it within boundaries suited to his passion.
“Sinnerman” has him hit the jackpot, this as his style eases, dramatic fashion into a world akin to something JJ Cale might have done. Such is the song’s relentless, full-bodied rhythm. So excellent is the song a lesser man would have struggled after such a piece (live up to it). But Robb on returning to the art of crafting a song that relies on the beauty of the lyrics and understated melody “River” has all the ingredients. “Until Then” has a different questioning feel. A brave effort as Robb gambles big time. For here he delves into the mystic of redemption with him searching for truth. “Where Did U Go My Friend” enjoys hints of folk troubadours of old, nice enough (hints of Dylan in the songwriting style?) without it pulling up any trees.
Better, considerably, you have the pretty melodic ramble “Lonesome Burden”. So sweet the guitar work, and with his voice possessing characteristics of a traveller from a Woody Guthrie story, or someone from a John Steinbeck novel there’s a rare beauty within. On conclusion of the track I was compelled to press replay!
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