The Tallest Man on Earth
Spoiler alert: he's not the tallest man on earth. However, if Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson had an inch of height for every bar of his wistful, melodically haunting folk music, he'd be a giant. His sound is redolent of the fundamental solitude of an open road whose essence lies in borrowed spaces and stolen moments. His gently obfuscatory lyricism echoes and references folk music’s giants while distinguishing itself through twists and turns around non-linear narratives. Earthy, talkative vocals are sharply punctuated by uniquely tuned guitar, picked raw or violently strummed with emotive endurance.
Matsson first made himself known to the world a decade ago with a self-titled EP, followed by his acclaimed album Shallow Grave in 2008. On tour, he charms audiences and wins new fans everywhere he goes in the simplest and most direct fashion, as a man with a guitar or a piano – though he's equally comfortable and affecting when fronting a full band, which he'll do at the Festival. His latest album, Dark Bird Is Home, is filled with large, layered sounds, worthy of the austere vistas of his Nordic home. It captures his voice and creative vision at its most deep, dark and wonderful, leavened with touches of gentle whimsy.