Through his singing, songwriting and overall stage presence, Mike Mattison has thoroughly distinguished himself in recent years as a member of the Derek Trucks Band and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. In that same interim, the Minnesota native has also continued to pursue his career as a multi-media artist, maintaining his literary endeavors, plus recording solo as well as a member of Scrapomatic with Paul Olsen.
The latter is just one of the familiar names credited on Afterglow, Mattison's first album under his own name alone since You Can't Fight Love (Landslide Records, 2014). Another stalwart of DTB and TTB, the late Kofi Burbridge, played organ on "All You Can Is Mean It' and "I Really Miss You," while Tyler Greenwell, once percussionist for the The Wood Brothers and now Tedeschi Trucks, played on and co-produced these ten tracks of original material which run the stylistic gamut; in keeping with Mike Mattison's demeanor, personally and professionally, this collaboration is an earnest, understated mix of blues, soul, country and rock. Engineered by Greenwell, then mixed by Jason Kingsland and mastered by Ed Brooks, the audio clarity here aligns with this unassuming artist's vision of himself and his work.
Similarly, the aforementioned musician credits should not obscure a salient fact; the inside photo and design of this album package come courtesy of Flournoy Holmes, creative artist behind the famous gate-fold art of The Allman Brothers Band's Eat A Peach (Capricorn, 1972). Obviously, this immersion in the milieu of Southern rock suits Mattison and not just because his drawl of a delivery sets the tone and tempo for a deliciously slow shuffle of "Word's Coming Down;" his effortless voice-in-motion sounds equally natural on the more sprightly likes of the titlesong and, in a decidedly ironic contrast, during a deceptively up-tempo number called "Deadbeat."
Mattison, Greenwell and company accomplish such memorable moments in a well-paced forty-minutes of symbiosis. Keyboardist Rachel Eckroth and Mike's kindred spirit Olsen join the core lineup to brighten and color a small handfuls of cuts including "Charlie Idaho" and "On Pontchartrain." Illustrative of a readily-apparent unity of thought and action throughout this record, guitarist Dave Yoke and bassist Frahner Joseph lend stable force to a track like "I Was Wrong," yet they do so by blending into the ensemble rather than calling attention to themselves. With his part-whispered, part-falsetto vocal during that very same number, Mike Mattison is clearly more conscious of fitting in than assuming the spotlight as well.
Of course, that rare ability to find a place for himself (rather than make one) has long been the singer-songwriter's stock in trade, so it only stands to reason he would evince that virtue with such consistency over the entire course of Afterglow.
Charlie Idaho; Afterglow; Deadbeat; Words Coming Down; All You Can Do Is Mean It; Kiss You Where You ; I Was Wrong: On Pontchartrain; I Really Miss You; Got Something For You.
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