Land of the Living

Land of the Living

On his fourth album, singer/songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones invokes the spirits of such visionaries as Vincent Van Gogh, Federico Garcia Lorca, and the Persian poet Rumi as he offers songs of delicate poetic craft and visceral emotion. Land of the Living takes its literary aspirations seriously, but it doesn’t stint on the musical side of things either. Jones’ resonant, vibrato-tinted tenor (suggestive of Bono and Jeff Buckley) conveys a grandeur and tenderness that goes beyond his lyrics' evocative imagery. His latest work balances a sense of tragedy with stubborn courage—“Stones from the Riverbed” and “Keep it on the Inside” are anthems of resistance against inner darkness. “O Theo” (a luminous tune inspired by Van Gogh’s letters to his brother) and “Cancion de la Noche” (a somberly hypnotic piece) root themselves in the chords and attitudes of American folk traditions while adding a twist of the exotic. Offering contrast, “Waking the Dead” is a rousing number cowritten with Burlap to Cashmere’s Steven Delopoulos.

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