# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Matthew Ord - Early in the Spring

  by Lisa Torem

published: 7 / 11 / 2009

Matthew Ord - Early in the Spring
Label: Matthew Ord
Format: CD


Lovingly reconstructed interpretations of traditional British and North American roots and folk songs on first solo album from Hey Negrita guitarist, Matthew Ord

London-based singer and Hey Negrita guitarist Matthew Ord’s rejuvenating debut solo album CD ‘Early in the Spring’ is a journey through traditional British and North American roots music. Ord has extensively toured Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Norway, the southern U.S. and Canada. In 2008 he contributed music to Alex Walker’s documentary ‘We Dreamed America’ which chronicled London’s Americana scene. Alhough I’m not sure whether his travels or cultural observations have greatly impacted this particular album per se, what’s clear is that his choice of themes: new love, death, war, elaborate finger-picking progressions, hoardes of hickory-smoked hammer-ons and crackling narratives - which convincingly describe detail-rich events - and his velvety voice – flawless and smooth like Bohemian crystal – all work together to form slice-of-life moments of stunning universality. You can almost smell the burning, intoxicating peat moss of his surroundings and imagine the stark moors upon which he may have tread. Alhough, what’s particularly charming is his use of vernacular – for example, in ‘As I Roved Out’ (on a bright March morning) he sings, "I took off my hat and I saluted" and he further moves the story along sharing, "If I marry the lass." We feel privy to his most personal secrets - he shares them freely and wistfully - and his brilliant guitar work never interferes with the often complex story lines or his honest interpretations. Each song is delivered in such a personalized way that you can’t help but fall in love with the dreams each character follows. ‘Jack Hazeldean’ tells the story of a runaway bride and is actually a nineteenth century lyric by Sir Walter Scott. ‘Louis Collins’ – written by Mississippi John Hurt - and the only non-traditional track has the insidious hook – "The angels laid him away/Laid him six feet under" and continues, "When they heard Louis was dead/The ladies all dressed in red." A tragic gunfight inspired the theme. ‘The Rambling Siuler’ – a Scottish beauty - begins with the straightforward line "The highland lads have come to town" and upon further examination you’re brought into the picture-book moments of a young man who "put his arm around her waist." ‘The Recruited Collier’ stuns us with the line, "What’s the matter you, my lass?" and discusses ‘Jimmy’ who talks about war as he walks over "stubble hills." Ord’s version of ‘The Cuckoo’ is rooted in Appalachian sensibilities. His s voice becomes particularly evocative as he sets forth streaks of blues notes singing, "Building a log cabin on a mountain so high" and flanking, "Cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird/And she warbles as she flies." Ord’s solo is as tight as the skein of a serious knitter’s Burberry wool. The title song, the North Carolinian ‘Early in the Spring’ tragically depicts a young sailor’s return home to find his greatest love married. I honestly can’t say enough wonderful things about Matthew Ord’s lovingly constructed ‘Early in the Spring.’ It’s a historical joust through a body of music that absolutely must be remembered done-up in a breathtakingly genuine way.

Track Listing:-
1 Jock O'Hazeldean
2 Louis Collins
3 The Rambling Siuler
4 Roger O'Hehir
5 The Cuckoo
6 The Recruited Collier
7 As I Roved Out
8 Early in the Spring
9 The Dark Eyed Sailor

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