Mattias Lies’ new folk album, Turning Points, continues (as did his last record, Highs And Lows), to calm the hot lava ash of the current state of human affairs. To be blunt: this is a wonderful folk album that conjures the melodic patience of the very best of the 70’s singer-songwriters like Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Don McLean. It even manages to glance at the pristine quietude of Duncan Browne’s beautiful 1968 Give Me Take You album.
It’s just an idea (and just so you know), James Taylor and Jackson Browne are soon to play a concert at our Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. All those fans who relish those classic folk tunes need to hear this record, to know that while nostalgia is nice, there are current musicians plying a pretty great singer-songwriter trade, even from such distance shores of his native Sweden.
And it’s just another idea, but if Turning Points were issued as a “lost treasure” from some imaginary idyllic folk music past, it would certainly attract the attention of those of us who hunt for those lost treasures from some idyllic folk music past.
The first song, ‘Light And Ease’, conjures the melodic beauty of Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’ acoustic solitude. This is a painting that brushstrokes coffee house communion between voice and guitar.
In contrast, ‘Turning Point’ is an up-tempo tune with strong melodic chords and percussion that glances back to the time when radio played singles like Al Stewart’s ‘The Year Of The Cat’ and Cat Stevens’ chart success, ‘Moonshadow’.
Then, ‘The Great Divide’ begins with piano introspection, but soon erupts into a big cavalcade of epic folk pop passion. The music swells with a big waterfall piano pulse. The tune moves away from the acoustic guitar simplicity of the first two tracks, but it still fits into the contemplative 70’s troubadour template and (sort of) conjures the always melodic nighttime starry skies. The lyric is quite profound, as it penetrates the psychological depths and sings of the moment when ‘everything that hides’ is revealed. It’s interesting that the feminine pronoun is used in the song.
But the singer-songwriter vibe continues. ‘False Alarm’ is again piano driven and touches, at times, Mattias’ devotion to the profoundly heartfelt tunesmith talent of Neil Young, circa the folky stuff on After The Gold Rush and Harvest. Again, the tune is quietly complex and offers a message of tough survival.
Then, ‘Travelers’ returns to simple beauty—until the music simply shimmers with florid instrumental brush strokes. Once again, the song touches the emotional depth of (the great!) Don McLean. Autumnal leaves of thought drift through the tune.
Now, this is a brief album that clocks in less than 30 minutes. But the final songs, quite simply, extend time with the beauty of existential introspection. ‘Memory Lane’ just haunts its melodic landscape. A halo hovers here. This is confessional folk stuff in its primal skeletal psychological lost love sadness. Indeed, as Emily Dickenson once wrote, ‘Time is the Test of Trouble—But not a Remedy’. Indeed (again!), the song is a raw bit of poetry delivered in the ironic comfort of a gentle tune.
And finally, ‘Flood And Tide’ is silken folk perfection: it drips with soft rain. It drips with the soft rain of a nice Paul Simon song. And that’s the soul of this album, as it touches a deep thought, introspective wisdom, and seductive melodies, all of which are, forever and a day, wrapped in some many Turning Points of warm magic and very acoustic wool.
Artist’s website: https://mattiaslies.com/
‘Turning Point’ – official video: