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Robert Plant Guest Vocal on "Elsewhere"

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Here is a review of Scott Matthews' coming album Elsewhere, which features Robert Plant on a track.

This offering is the second album from Wolverhampton troubadour Scott Matthews and follows on from 'Passing Stranger' which won him an Ivor Novello best song award for 'Elusive'.

For the tricky second album, Matthews has recruited Scott and Gavin Monaghan (Mercury Rev, The Smiths, Joe Strummer) to produce and also enticed none other than Robert Plant to provide vocals on one track.

The album opener 'Underlying Lies' is a large sounding track with a full string section and the laid back feel of 'Suddenly You Figure Out' with the subtle brushes, slide guitar and horns sort of sum up the album. It is apparent from early on that 'Elsewhere' is more subtle and down tempo CD when compared to 'Elusive'.

The tempo steps up slightly on 'Fractured' with the sound of a distorted electric guitar creeping in. This is then followed by '12 Harps' which features Matthews and Robert Plant sharing vocal duties. The guitar picking and harmonics blend well with both Matthews's vocals and the slightly understated vocals from Plant, definitely one of the picks from the album.

'Into The Firing Line' is the second upbeat track with a driving rhythm on the album. Title track 'Elsewhere' employs the use of some spooky sounding keys and finger picked acoustic which gives the song a Nick Drake-esque feel, Matthews vocals add to the atmosphere and the delicate lyrics add to the quality of this song. The album closes with 'Nothing's Quite Right Here' which again is a mellow acoustic track that justifiably summarises the long player.

'Elsewhere' is a more serene and tranquil album when compared to Mathew's previous contribution with graceful song writing and subtle musicianship, an album that grows on you with each listen.

Highlights: 12 Harps, Into The Firing Line, Elsewhere

Rating: 8/10

Pablo Roffey

And you can visit his homepage: Scott Matthews

click on "12 harps" and listen to the song.

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Thanks for the review and link glicine! I am a huge Scott Matthews fan. Looking forward to getting his new cd and was really happy to learn Robert contributed vocals on the track. They sound great together :D

I really love the sound of that song. The CD will come out on May 25th. So we have something to look forward to.

I guess they know each other well? Since Scott Matthews is from Wolverhampton.

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I really love the sound of that song. The CD will come out on May 25th. So we have something to look forward to.

I guess they know each other well? Since Scott Matthews is from Wolverhampton.

Yes and Scott also opened for Robert and Alison's European dates :)

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Do you have his first album "Passing Stranger"? I highly recommend it if you don't.

I do have it but haven't listened to it for a while, just digging it out again now. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...
A classic feeling for Scott Matthews

May 18 2009 By Dave Freak

With a new album out, Scott Matthews tells Dave Freak about working with the legendary Robert Plant.

Wolverhampton songwriter Scott Matthews has amassed plenty of memorable moments over the last three years, but winning a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in 2007 for Elusive, beating Arctic Monkeys’ When The Sun Goes Down, is a real high point.

“I did think about putting it in a vault,” laughs Scott, who plays Birmingham Glee Club tomorrow.

“It’s not one of those awards for the living room, so I actually keep it in my music room, amongst all the CDs, on a shelf. I look at it now and again for inspiration. It’s such an achievement. If I pack it all in tomorrow, I’ve done that, I’ve got that award. The event is quite clear in my mind even now. It’s one of the things I’ve always got.”

He pauses and gives a wry smile: “Another 18 more and I’ll be challenging Paul McCartney!”

A slow burner, Matthews’ debut album, Passing Stranger, first appeared on indie label San Remo back in 2006.

Citing classic songwriters of the 60s and 70s as influences (Lennon/McCartney, Page/Plant, Joni, Dylan, Bolan), the album blended the intensity and vibe of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley with a distinct World Music infusion and was soon picked up by major label Island.

High-profile support slots with Foo Fighters, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Rufus Wainwright and Bert Jansch followed, as did festival appearances and sell-out headline shows.

With many tracks penned while touring, the much anticipated second album, Elsewhere, out today, was eventually pieced together in the West Midland studios of Gavin Monaghan, producer of The Twang, Nizlopi and Editors.

This time around Matthews aimed to create a complete album, held together by a distinct mood, and cites Mercury Rev, The Smashing Pumpkins and Hunky Dory-era Bowie as reference points.

“We struggled playing some of the first album live, but these songs are different, there’s a slightly different edge to them, they’re big, leaning towards more electric guitar.

“And when you listen to the album as a whole, it definitely has a certain feeling about it, it’s knit together. I wanted to create an album that locks you in. It’s also 11 tracks, so it has a classic feeling. It’s quite a positive record really. I’m confident I’ve made a better second record and I’ll take these new experiences onto the third and fourth albums.”

Despite the electric roots of the material, Speeding Slowly recalls Sea Change-era Beck while the album highlight 12 Harps, featuring a guest appearance by Robert Plant, is a drifting slice of gentle psychedelic British folk-rock.

“We sent Robert the track as he was rehearsing in Texas. He got back and said he was really up for it, and two months later we got him into the studio. It really worked, singing together in the same room. We sat in the studio, jamming, and that made me more relaxed, it was like karaoke,” Matthews laughs.

“We got the song together in two hours. We kept one of the early takes, to get that spontaneous thing. I think it’ll be a track that’ll appeal to a lot of people. It’s very much in the Led Zep mould. I still shake my head when I hear it. How did I pull that off?”

It’s a subtle performance from Plant, currently in the throes of a creative renaissance since 2005’s Mighty ReArranger, 2007’s lauded Raising Sand, with Alison Krauss, and Led Zeppelin’s all too brief reunion.

“One thing that struck me about Robert’s voice is how natural it is. He doesn’t explore the high register anymore, I was interested in the baritone of it, that Johnny Cash resonance. I worked with that softer element of my voice too, and the two tones work together, that’s why the song is so good,” Matthews says.

The Led Zepper was an early fan of the songwriter after Monaghan invited Plant to his studio to hear a few tracks. The singer was so impressed with Matthews that he insisted he open the European leg of his Raising Sand tour with Krauss.

“I started shaking when he asked me, personally,” Matthews recalls of an impromptu phone call. “Me? Supporting my idol?

“He’s such a down to earth guy, which speaks volumes about him personally. He makes you feel welcome. And he’s one of the best singers around – no-one is better than him. When you hear Led Zep I, II and III, the raw energy in his voice is frightening.”

After debuting the majority of the album during a short tour of Ireland late last year, Matthews – who made his solo debut back in 2003 supporting tribute band The Other Smiths at the now defunct Robin 1 in Brierley Hill – has decided to temporarily ditch his band for a solo sojourn.

“I like playing gigs on my own, you get into it, you get this real nice sense of what you do, you’re more alert, you have to deliver these songs to people in the audience, you have to deliver them the best you can,” he says.

“You can get a bit complacent, so I wanted to test myself. The secret to a good song is being able to play it as simply as possible and retain the substance.”

This sense of control, coupled with going it alone extends into future recordings.

“I hope to be more of my own producer. It’s not an ego thing, but I know what I want. The demo stuff is raw, spontaneous, and there’s a tendency to over gloss things when you go into a studio, adding layers of stuff. So I’m seeing the third record as a guitar and vocal album, just create an atmosphere, and the fourth will be quite different again, more experimental.”

Matthews’ desire to push forward with the next two releases is driven by the length of time it took to pull together Elsewhere – writing, demo-ing, booking studio time, recording, mixing, mastering, and so forth.

“It’s funny how it can make you so drained,” he comments. “But I’ve learned a lot about how the process of making a record works now and because of that, I’m more anxious than ever to work quicker.”


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You're welcome. :)

There's still a week til Elsewhere comes out, I'll definitely go for it.

Thanks for posting that :D I am going to buy it as well. I absolutely LOVED his first album. I saw him open for one of the RP/AK shows but missed part of it (oops). I keep hoping he'll tour stateside at some point.

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