December 16, 2009

I’m gonna float up in the ceiling, I built a levee of the stars


Swedish folk songwriter The Tallest Man on Earth (Kristian Matsson) has been slaying me since springtime with his song “I Won’t Be Found,” my immediate favorite of all his music so far. With vivid storytelling ability, there is a yowly, authentic soul behind this intricate finger-plucking guitar melody — a song like staccato rain on a summer roof and itinerant wanderers, walking away down a grassy path.

But then I heard this bitterly wistful version, accompanied by that slow piano, and it kicked my legs out from under me — kind of like the way that Ryan Adams’ “Avalanche” did the first time I listened to it, one dark night on my car stereo:

I Won’t Be Found (Daytrotter version) – The Tallest Man On Earth

Deep in the dust forgotten gathered
I grow a diamond in my chest
and I make reflections as the moon shine on
turn to a villain as I rest…

I’m gonna float up in the ceiling
I built a levee of the stars
and in my field of tired horses, ah
I built a freeway through this farce

Since I’d missed the original Daytrotter session in October, I first stumbled onto this on the Music vs. Misery blog (where you need to get the original version, terrific in its own way). After I listened to it a good half-dozen times in a row, feeling all sorts of unmentionable melancholy bubble up inside of my chest, I knew I needed to repost it here.

The Vancouver-based author of Music vs Misery (Megan) is one of my favorite, truest voices in the music blog world these days, and one that I connect with completely as she wears her heart right out there on her sleeve as I do. The fact that her blog is named for a Nick Hornby quote (from a book I am currently re-reading) doesn’t hinder my affections either. Go spend some time there, and while you’re at it, sit with this version of the song for a while. Stuff percolates up when you do.

(Oh — and if Kristian Matsson’s folk legacy aura wasn’t already apparent enough, you should listen to the rugged backwoods banjo deliciousness of his cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” on the Daytrotter session. Similar to the way I feel that Joe Pug’s music is important and laced with immense potential, I am so excited to see where Matsson goes next as an artist, how he develops.)


  • God, those VOCALS. What a great version of that song. Shallow Grave was one of my favorite albums of 2008 and it hasn’t lost any of its impact.

    r. serious — December 16, 2009 @ 1:41 am

  • Saw him on the CU campus. Literally only 20 people there. I feel like that experience will only gain importance as time goes on.

    Kathleen — December 16, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  • I stumbled across TTMOE a year or two back and have continued to be amazed by his vocals – the gang at Daytrotter really captured a fantastic set as they usually do! I missed his opening set last June – didn’t really want to see John Vanderslice…shoulda gone.

    If you’re into Swedish/Scandinavian stuff, check out anything by Ane Brun – her work with Koop is nothing short of spectacular! Sort of a bleak video story tho…

    She also did a great duet & video with Ron Sexsmith:

    Along the lines of fun videos, the sweetest & most charming I’d seen (until Lisa Hannigan’s “Lille” and “I Don’t Know” vids) came from Lesli for his song “Summer Wind” a few years back – certainly worth repeating.

    I just found out about Signe Tollefsen last nite – I may be late to the party, but will make up for it by digging in. Her website seems a bit finicky with Firefox + NoScript, but you can find a few things out there on YT – I was particularly impressed with her biting/personal lyrics and tremendously pure & powerful voice. Check out “History Class” she kind of notches it up at the end…also the version of “You, Me & The Brewers” at her website or MySpace really grabbed my attention – a great collection of instruments in the vein of Lisa Hannigan or The Low Anthem.

    jimbo — December 16, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  • Thanks for reminding me of what I missed a few days ago. And let me sing the praises of Music vs Misery, one of my favorite music blogs, as well.

    Andrew — December 16, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  • Kristian is a gem. His live shows are stunning.

    Here’s a video we did with him in Milwaukee

    uwmryan — December 17, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  • Thanks for all your kind words, Heather! Did you check out the vids of Kristian playing on the Swedish countryside? I’ve been watching them on repeat all week… so gorgeous

    Your mention of “Avalanche” got me thinking about how much I adore “Love is Hell”. Such a fantastically sad record.

    Megan — December 18, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  • [...] 20, 2009 av lacienega Det flitiga turnerandet börjar betala sig. Surret om The Tallest Man On Earth sprider sig på andra sidan pölen. Bara att gratta jänkarna. I [...]

    Vykort från Tallest Man On Earth « La Cienega — December 20, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  • God this is beautiful. I’ve been listening to Shallow Graves for a while now, but this version of this song is one of those few-and-far-betweens that makes your heart feel like it swallowed itself. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    Emily — January 15, 2010 @ 12:57 am

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →