Opposites attract: Folks songs for shorties

Cover of 2008's Shallow Grave

Cover of 2008's Shallow Grave

Life as a live music-loving shorty is not always kind. Gone are the days of being hoisted onto the shoulders of someone with a linebacker’s physique at countless outdoor festivals, not that those days ever existed. I’m surprisingly modest, OK? Really! Anyway, in addition to alcohol and ticket costs, my concert attendance includes a considerable amount of resignation. I’m resigned to sporting at least three inches of height in my shoes and standing at an angle for hours at a time. I’m resigned to seeing the bands in flashes and semi-blocked shots, as if viewing the show through the lens of a really incompetent camera user. I’m resigned to absorbing the fine details on the backs of other attendants’ apparel. Dude with the neon-colored puppy shirt at TV on the Radio last year? Stay classy.

In spite of the obstacles, I keep shelling out the dough to see fractions of concerts anyway. I express my gratitude to fate that the tallest man in the world lives in the Ukraine and probably doesn’t go to concerts in Portland, OR too often. And I enjoy that the Tallest Man on Earth is not only a performer rather than an audience member, but a grandiose name for a folk musician from Sweden named Kristian Matsson. It’s an unlikely pseudonym for a man who appears to be an average height, but it’s almost a more unlikely kind of music that he plays. Basically, the Tallest Man on Earth sounds like he found his own cabin somewhere deep in the Midwestern woods and wrote an album teeming with Americana and folk inspirations, even though Matsson is from the land of ABBA and bikini teams. He toured with Bon Iver for a lot of the past year, and shares a similar bare-bones approach to the acoustic-based songs he writes. Matsson’s voice is unabashed, sometimes braying, but always elastic and quick-flowing with each verse. The Tallest Man on Earth will delight the crowds at SXSW this week and find himself in a significantly smaller venue in the Northwest at the start of next week. I’ll be there, wearing boots that make me nearly 5’4 and dodging the concert-goers built like Bigfoot.

The Tallest Man on Earth will play at Rontoms on Sunday, March 22.

  • The Tallest Man on Earth ~ Shallow Grave ~ Gravitation

Honey Won’t You Let Me In


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