Newport Music Hall was abuzz Wednesday night with bearded twenty-somethings all awaiting the arrival of Kristian Matsson, a Swedish folk singer better known as The Tallest Man On Earth. His talented guitar picking and iconic voice style made this show memorable.
Lady Lamb, a singer-songwriter from Maine, opened the show. Usually accompanied by a full band on her records, Lamb came out with just an electric guitar and her soulful yet folksy voice. This choice was risky especially since her first song was performed a capella. Lamb combined her folksy guitar picking skills with quirky lyrics such as, “We fell asleep on a box of Milk Duds.” Her style kept the crowd engaged for a while, however her act became one dimensional after 45 minutes of what seemed like the same thing.
The Tallest Man On Earth came out and immediately showed his range as an artist. His sound has progressed as he has grown older. His first albums feature his flawless guitar playing and folksy voice. He featured those songs with just him and his guitar as the audience helped him sing through early singles such as “The Gardener.”
As his career has progressed, The Tallest Man expanded his style to put his folksy, country style into the modern indie genre. He added a full band for his last two records, and that increased his presence as a live act. He performed a lot from his new record, “Dark Bird Is Home,” which came out this year. The crowd responded well to new songs such as “Darkness of the Dream” and “Singers,” even though they were not as well known.
The variety was visual through him changing guitars after every song, showcasing his ability to weave his way through old and new material. He also physically moved around the stage — running around, strumming and coming to the edge of the stage playing to each person in Newport. The Tallest Man even gave “King of Spain” and “The Wild Hunt” the full band treatment that deepened the sound and made those songs stand out.
No matter what sound he has around him, The Tallest Man On Earth will always have his distinctive raspy and folksy voice for the audience to know who they are listening to.