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Passing Stranger

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Album Review

Singer/songwriter Scott Matthews released a debut album full of bluesy rock songs, ranging from radio-friendly "Passing Stranger" to the Eastern tinged, quiet folk of "Earth to Calm," in April 2006 on his own co-owned label. Matthews recorded the album himself independently, had it mastered by Ray Staff in London, released it, and shortly thereafter Island picked up on it. There is a surreal, dreamlike quality to the album, partly due to Matthews' voice (which is often double-tracked), and partly due to the music that slides in and out of the mix, with little snippets of jams, songs, and strange instruments thrown in between songs (think The Hour of Bewilderbeast, but less pop). The opening lines of "Elusive" bear a resemblance to Jeff Buckley's work on Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk. Matthews, however, has a lot more dirt in his voice than Buckley — he's an earthier, calmer singer — and sometimes he even manages to evoke a Moby Grape-like sound, or the music Eddie Vedder did for the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. The acoustic rhythm tracks that Matthews lays down — think Eric Clapton Unplugged — provide a fine backdrop to his singing. All in all, this is a well-crafted album full of good songs, and an impressive debut. ~ Philip D. Huff, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Undoubtedly the best album of 2007 (from 2006)

I can't say enough about this amazing album. It has eclipsed every album I considered a favorite for 2007 and probably 2006. I can’t believe this gem has been hiding for almost 1 ½ years! Yes, there is definitely a Jeff Buckley / Nick Drake association in Scott Matthews’ euphonous singing & songwriting, but you've heard that before, right? So have I, and I have been disappointed many times. But, I defy you to disagree once you listen to Dream Song, Elusive and Prayer. The ethereal voice, the intricate and eloquent songwriting; they’re here, causing a physical reaction I haven’t felt since my first time alone with Grace. Dream Song is quite frankly the best song I’ve heard in 5 years. Other songs to mention are Sweet Scented Figure, Eyes Wider Than Before, City Headache (Rufus Wainwright must be proud), The Fool’s Fooling Himself and the title track, Passing Stranger. Every few songs lies a beautiful instrumental segue to the next. This album is a beautifully crafted, thoughtful piece of art, one that I will treasure for many years to come. Just lovely, Scott Matthews.

So Listenable

Buckley and Drake have nothing on this new musician... Matthews' music soars, absolutely soars. From the lyrics to the harmonies and everything in between, including some sweet quirkiness that just lends itself to this album's listenability. Love, love, love it. Wtih 19 songs at $8, you are getting the great music deal of the year.

Passing Stranger

What an incredible album. Scott Matthews has really created a special work of art. Passing Stranger and Elusive are outstanding tracks that really move you. This is a really special and unique artist that is going to break out over time. The music is just incredible, enough said.


Born: 1976 in Wolverhampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Often compared to Jeff Buckley, Scott Matthews is an English singer/songwriter primarily influenced by folk and, to a lesser extent, blues -- though he has also claimed the likes of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin as influences. Signed to Island Records, he released his first album, Passing Stranger, in 2006. The record was warmly supported by several BBC disc jockeys, and the low-key single "Elusive" won an Ivor Novello Award. A good deal of touring followed, including shows alongside the Foo Fighters,...
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Passing Stranger, Scott Matthews
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Customer Ratings