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William Matheny w/ Adam RemnantFREE
FREE SHOW in the Bootlegger with William Matheny and special guest, Adam Remnant!
“Cerebral alt. country from an unusually versatile singer.”
— Rolling Stone
“William Matheny is quickly becoming one of independent country music’s most exciting emerging artists.”
— American Songwriter
“If you’re looking for your new favorite Americana rocker, look no further than the wonderful William Matheny… one full length under his belt with staying power for a classic sophomore LP.”
It’s fitting that William Matheny has chosen to honor the 15th anniversary of Centro-matic’s tour de force album Love You Just the Same on his new 7-inch: The 2003 full-length from Will Johnson’s four-piece was one of the most acclaimed releases from Misra Records’ first five years, and Matheny has emerged as one of the label’s standard-bearers as it enters closes in on the end of its second decade.
The tribute takes the form of a cover of “Flashes and Cables,” the now-classic from Love You, on the A-side of Matheny’s single. Matheny’s spin is, like so many memorable covers, faithful to the original up to a point—he chose to keep the dramatic shifts in dynamics and picked up the pace only a pinch—but diverges just enough to make it distinct. Gone is Johnson’s martial drumbeat in favor of Matheny’s Spector-informed, lazy swung backbeat. In lieu of Centro-matic’s slow disintegration and off-kilter keys, we get a triumphant guitar solo worthy of J. Mascis as the song winds down. Quality songwriting isn’t threatened by interpretation, and in this new interpretation you’re bound to glimpse aspects of Johnson’s song you overlooked before.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the interpreter is a top-notch songwriter as well: Matheny, on the heels of 2017’s Strange Constellations LP and last spring’s EP “Moon Over Kenova,” is a breakout voice in country-rock, and keeps on proving it. The B-side of the new single, “Christian Name,” manages to turn variations on a theme into three or four distinct hooks, any one of which would have been enough for most songsmiths to hang their hat on. Tom Petty is in there somewhere beneath the world-weary country-rock exterior, but so is the dark-tinged bluesy folk of Lucinda Williams.
For some, Matheny’s tribute to Centro-matic will represent a nostalgic trip; for others it may be an entrée into the music of both Misra mainstays. The thing is, either way, it’s a pair of tracks worthy of play on repeat: Two gems with equal parts twang and tremolo, clever riffs and thoughtful words, delivered with deceptive ease.
– Andy Mulkerin
Adam Remnant came up over the last decade fronting the folk-rock band Southeast Engine. As the principal singer and songwriter of the band, Remnant and his bandmates garnered critical acclaim from publications such as Paste Magazine, Pitchfork, NPR, American Songwriter, Magnet, Stereogum, PopMatters, AV Club, and many more. They established a substantial following over the years, releasing five albums and touring across the United States and Canada.
As Southeast Engine wound down, Remnant began plotting his way forward as a solo artist. He assembled a little studio in his basement and earnestly began writing & recording the songs that comprise the 2016 EP, When I Was a Boy, as well as the new full-length, Sourwood. Remnant’s signature baritone voice and literary songwriting act as the focal point in the productions spanning between folk, rock, and indie sounds mined from a Midwest basement.
Sourwood is a record long in the making. In the intervening years since Southeast Engine, Remnant and his wife, Amanda, became parents to two curly blond-haired girls, which they raise in the fertile creative town of Athens, Ohio. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, it’s here that Remnant pursues his musical visions while tending to daily matters. The songs of Sourwood were birthed in that intersection of youth and adulthood where dreams and realities confront one another. The songs detail the desire to find potential opportunities beyond the horizon while feeling the gravity of home. The album drifts back and forth between those push & pull forces of home and travel as one might drift between a waking and dream state. Somewhere between those two states is a place called Sourwood.
The album is largely recorded and performed by Adam Remnant with contributions from Remnant’s working band, consisting of brother, Jesse Remnant, on bass and harmony vocals; Ryan Stolte-Sawa on violin and harmony vocals, and Jon Helm on drums. Adam and the band are touring in support of the release.