West Virginia-born William Matheny, long time keyboard player with Athens, Ohio indie band Southeast Engine makes his full-length debut with this varied collection of work.
Musically, the singer-songwriter covers rock, pop Americana complete with a cutting edge not every act posses, and with it honed to perfection his stories are well presented.
Opening cut “Teenage Bones” has a roving feel, and with him romanticising about a former love, and then with familiar sounding country rock electric lead guitar he speaks of how he is looking for a gift from “God’s Left Hand” and how he once marched with the army and followed the plough. He pumps a little diversity on keyboards into an already potent mix sure to send a vibration through your limbs. “Out For Revenge” with its chugging beat, country dashed with rockabilly the keeps standard is retained. On cranking it up “Living After Death” tells of how he once lived in an apartment, and apart from him it was just the bugs! It was a low point in his life as he abused friendships, and he would go to parties and stand in the kitchen till morning but wouldn't say much. “Blood Moon Singer” is powered by a hooky rhythm and it contains some splendid electric lead guitar, and the vocals too are top-class.
“My Father Knew Stoney Cooper” is an intriguing song that speaks of how his grandfather knew traditional country music act Stoney Cooper, and how he had six children and would send money on Friday and Jesus on Sunday. Matheny follows it with the frenetic, punk-like driven “29 Candles”, a million miles away from the song, and for that matter so too is the wistful and slightly mystical “Foolish Of Me” as he gets serious! “Funny Papers” typifies the record as country rock spills over like an over-filled coffee cup, and with piano, twangy electric lead guitar and a spot of pedal steel you could be listening to some subsidiary of Gram Parsons or one of his cohorts!
With Matheny underlining his love of guitar driven music and dynamic rhythm “Man Of Science” veers across to undiluted rock, and with lyrics to colour one’s mind he also yields to pop rock. As for the final track, “(I Pray) You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone” he reflects on a past relationship and of how things have moved on. Musically, like with many songs on the album Matheny strikes a balance without him compromising any.
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