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PAUL WILLIAMS’ CRAWDADDY MAGAZINE ON THE COLOR OF DUSK

 

To have such a warm review from such a legendary writer is deeply gratifying.

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JSeMUSIC by John Schaeffer, contributor 7/15/2010 AirOver Water Wall Matthews & Rusty Clark 2010 | ZGM / CD Baby
Some might quibble about this album’s place in the “classical” category on eMusic, but this is exactly the kind of otherwise-unknown recording that brings most of us to eMusic. Wall Matthews is a veteran guitarist and composer in a vein that might’ve been described in the ’80s — and in fact was described in the ’80s — as “Windham Hill-ish.” Acoustic, pastoral and technically confident — like the music on that hugely popular record label — Matthews’s works were generally solos. But early in his career, he and his friend, the violinist Rusty Clark, recorded a series of works together that blurred the boundary between American instrumental folk and what we might now call post-chamber music. The untimely death of Rusty Clark in 1986 put an end to the duo’s plans and consigned this music to obscurity until Matthews recently unearthed the tapes and finished the project. Air Over Water reveals Clark to have been a gifted and versatile player; the album’s opener, “The Two Snails Who Went To The Funeral Of A Dead Leaf,” refers to the Bach unaccompanied violin sonatas, American folk music, and possibly to elements of Celtic and Norwegian fiddling, too. The album’s closing track, “Little Piece,” is a lovely, melancholy composition that showcases Matthews’ talents. Many of these tracks, especially “Sleazy Sue,” “Tightrope Walkers” and “The Clowns,” are essentially songs without words. But within the constraints of “two guys and two instruments,” there’s a fair variety of texture: “Alabama Sketches” multi-tracks the violin over some Impressionist guitar playing. “The Blue Heart” sees Matthews at the piano, playing in a modal style that, on guitar, might suggest John Fahey’s more reflective moments. Whether this is “classical” is open for debate; but it’s certainly worth checking out.