Saturday, 13 October 2012


Anything Blue Nile-ish seems to get a little attention around here it seems...

Nashville based Alt-country/folk/roots solo singer/songwriters (Matthew Ryan & Neilson Hubbard) teamed up for this 2005 one-off musical detour which they admit was  inspired by their mutual love of... Blue Nile? 
It appears an odd proposition, but somehow it all works. Dark, sensual, laid-back, and a little gritty; it all ends up sounding vaguely like a dirtied-up Blue Nile. Both solo artists are worth checking out, but their combined talents mesh beautifully here. 
This CD requires some patience but the hooks dig deep. 
A solid late-night listen...
Note: US release features accompanying videos on DVD and an enthusiastic version of Blue Nile's "Stay" as a bonus track.

Warning: First video is a bit creepy...


  1. I saw Strays Don't Sleep a few years back supporting Josh Rouse, which led me to the albums of Matthew Ryan & Neilson Hubbard. I remember Ryan's introduction to the song For Blue Skies - about his jailed brother, was as powerful as the song itself. I spoke to him at the gig and his love of British bands extends to The Smiths and New Order. He released an acoustic version of his 'Dear Lover' album, which is a great late night listen and highly recommended. I love Neilson Hubbard's voice, his I Love Your Muscles album is great - even the version of Lady In Red is listenable!

  2. Bazza, we were thinking of you last night; saying that I only ever call when I want something of you...
    Let's get our diaries out.
    Funny, I've just ordered 'I Love Your Muscles'... Lady in Red could well be my least favourite song ever so I'm looking forward to making an ashtray out of the disc!

  3. Cars and History got me to playing this one, by Jim White :

    1. I've seen your (creepy) Corvette and raise you a Cutlass...
      Great album Seamus; The Wound that Never Heals always chills:

    2. What a great intro - hadn't heard it before. No Such Place is one of the few times I've had an album enter my subconscious in the past twenty years. It was a far more common occurrence when I was younger.

    3. Agree about that album's potency; Jim's recent stuff's patchy in comparison.
      Funny, he was on the Aarhus show that I recently did (via satellite). Now there's a man who can fill a ten gallon hat...
      Saw your post on 'Kafka on the Shore'; started it many times; couldn't get going. I did like 'South of the Border' which seemed more engaging.
      Currently multitasking with Maxwell's 'So Long, See You Tomorrow' and Franklins 'Smonk' whilst listening to Elbow's latest (b sides and offcuts) drinking black coffee, watching Di do the ironing. Domestic bliss!

  4. Off on a tangent, are we? You've got me interested in Jim White. 'Drill A Hole In The Substrate' caught my attention a few years ago. Although produced by Joe Henry, it seemed an interesting but warped listen. 'No Such Place' seems a little more accessible to my tastes. I like the clips you guys posted. "The Wound" is some twisted tale. Reminds me of something Richmond Fontaine might do...

  5. Or this...

    Listen carefully, make the connection?

    1. It works well; that Carver story has inspired a song or two.
      I've often thought of making an album doing such a thing... maybe incorporating some of his poems also (I love the one about his Dad holding fish) but never know where to start...
      Have you seen 'Jindabyne'? An Australian production that re-tells the story, the victim being an Aboriginal girl; tensions that follow etc... Interesting piece in the NYTimes:

  6. No Such Place is the stronger set of songs; there's a couple of brilliant productions by the Morcheeba crew; def not 'Chill Out' music. There's also a fine documentary that he made 'Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus' which haunts the bible belt...

  7. Yup, I've seen both films. Jindabyne I found slow and bleak. Remember me, Mr. Hollywood ending? And messing with RC somehow always seems a bit blasphemous. Did I read somewhere that RC was none to happy with what Altman did with Short Cuts?
    Wrong-Eyed Jesus I've watched in pieces on PBS. I liked what I saw. I was impressed by the fact that White didn't stoop to condescension; in fact empathized with the folk. Very strange folk indeed, as is White!
    As for narrative songwriting... I love it when it's done right. I can only imagine the inherent dangers of tumbling into Harry Chapin syndrome, going for the 'punch in the guts' climax, which ends up becoming a novelty song. Alaska... perfection.
    Transcribing Carver to song quite a concept. I'm sure for you it would be a labour of love that you could pull off in spades.
    Photo Of My Father, not sure I've read it until now... classic.
    The one that gets me is What The Doctor Said, where he (by habit)thanks the doc after being told cancer is ripping through him. Real-life, baby...

  8. There's an odd tenderness to What the Doctor Said; almost a grateful relief that something has been resolved; the affirmation of the disease, rather than the worry of possibility...
    It always reminds me of the Tom Waits part in 'Ironweed': “Doc says I got cancer,” he confesses. Then he grins: “First thing I ever got!” as though it's a possession, got to admit I nicked the moment for 'Harry's Hands'.
    Short Cuts? The argument has always been: too much Altman, not enough Carver; also the change of setting from North West to LA seemed to over-urbanize the characters; gave too much 'Hollywood' to the mundanities. It's too long also by an hour at least but still immensely watchable...