‘This House of Mine’ Matt Lax and Nearly Beloved - folk, blues and country sliding together(March 04, 2015)
When you listen to certain albums there are those 'special moments’ when you find you’ve slipped into the magic of the music, it has simply soothed away whatever it was that made you mad. ‘This House of Mine’ the new album from Matt Lax and Nearly Beloved does precisely that, mixing languorous vocals with involving and intricately layered strings to conjure its themes of love lost and found, devotion let down and reclaimed, hopes for salvation and deliverance. The album has an unhurried feel, mixing individual styles and influences into its soundscape of distinctive Americana with folk, blues and country sliding together to create the blend.
Leading in with ‘This House of Mine’ filled with reflections on passing time, to the tender serenity of ‘Awakening’ and the warm questions of ‘What The Morning’s For’ - understanding and recognising the human condition. A precious duet between Lax and Loralee Christensen gives ‘It Just Happens’ quintessential presence, before accordion and pennywhistle embellish ‘Astronauts and Fishermen’ and ‘I’m Going Out Of Her Mind’ delivers its despairing sadness. Noticeable by absence but in no way detracting from the whole, is the lack of drums. Lax explains the omission: “We wanted all the intricacy of the guitars and banjo to be heard, and we wanted the integrity of each song’s style to live uncompromised by the cadence of drums or percussion.” In my opinion that approach worked – and it worked big time.
Musicians playing on ‘This House of Mine’ are Matt Lax (Lacques) (guitars, lead vocals) Michael Stadler (mandolin, fiddle, cello, acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals) Erik Pearson (banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, upright bass, backing vocals) and Paul Olguin (upright and electric bass) with guests Richie Lawrence (accordion) Adam Beach (penny whistle) Loralee Christensen (duet vocal) Michael Young (tenor sax) Mike Rinta (trombone) and Joel Behrman (trumpet).
Reviewer: Tom Franks