Flyinshoes Review

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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.


                                                                  Maurice Hope       

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November 2017

JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Ear Music
Whitney Rose
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Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
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Jim White
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Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
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Peter Gallway
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Feels Like Religion
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Thomm Jutz
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The Wild
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Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
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Ties Of Blood And Affection
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15 pts.
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14 pts.
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Better than Alone
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Where I Belong
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Postcards From Magdalena
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