Stand firm

Overtly political musical statements can often get overwhelmed by the message. If an artist isn't careful, the passion and rage that fuels such songs wipes out the music entirely. Matt Townsend walks the line much closer than most. He is explicit in his message and ideas, but he manages to tamp down his fervor just enough to let the music enhance his fervor.

Matt Townsend
The Drifter and the Dream (Part 1) EP

"The Great American Madness" kicks off his set, and if it puts you off, then you're not gonna like what comes next. Townsend acknowledges many of the contradictions of the American myth, and sounds pretty prescient considering the recent election. He doesn't pull any punches with his lyrics, but he gives his band full range behind him, which amplifies his ideas nicely.

And that's how you avoid crafting a polemic. Balance. Grace. A recognition of the entirety of the world. Matt Townsend is one person with some big ideas, and he's put together a fine set of songs. And as much as I think he wants to transcend that set of facts, he doesn't oversell. Which makes me even more interested in hearing part 2.

Jon Worley

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