Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: The Messenger (Essence)

 |   |  1 min read

Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: At the Bar
Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves: The Messenger (Essence)

I especially like this line in Matt Joe Gow's bio: "Like most New Zealanders with any imagination, Matt soon found himself compelled to stray beyond the boundaries of his wonderful counmtry . . ."
Kind of a back-handed compliment there from an Australian, I guess.

Still, no artist should ever be held to their bio and this one was clearly written for international consumption because it points out that he came from Dunedin, "a town of impeccable musical pedigree (surely you've heard of the Flying Nun label . . .) " etc.

Gow may have come from there but his head is in purely in the Big Country (Australia or America) as on this sometimes quite thrilling debut album he delivers a committed alt.country Americana recorded in Melbourne (I think) with producer Nash Chambers who has done excellent work for his sister Kasey and her husband/musical partner Shane Nicholson. (Nash is also the son of country legend Bill Chambers).

So Gow too has an impeccable pedigree in his own way: a big fan of Steve Young, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Wilco etc; a terrific road-tested band; hard-edged songs written over a period time which reflect the space of Australia (Midnight Oil's Jim Moginie and Bill Chambers help out); steel guitars and a backbeat . . .

If he falls for some lyrical cliches and a rather too familiar chord progression on ocassion I guess we can be forgiving and say it is early days. But when he hits his stride -- as on Land is Burning at the ragged-rock end or the follow-up Things Fall Apart as an aching ballad -- Gow serves notice that here is one Kiwi-Australian who can take on the best in the game as an equal. And he possesses a powerful and memorable voice.

Pretty impressive. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Coolies: Master (Chapter)

Coolies: Master (Chapter)

Coolies -- originally out of South Auckland -- hit a wall about five years ago and despite building a small, very small, local reputation and playing SxSW, their trash/distortion/pop sound which... > Read more

Curtis Harding; Soul Power (Warners)

Curtis Harding; Soul Power (Warners)

Back in early June we posted a review of this album under our ONE WE MISSED banner because it had appeared through the indie distributor Southbound the previous month. Well, seems everyone is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Melody Pool

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Melody Pool

Even back home in Australia the 21-year odl singer Melody Pool has yet to create a wave and in his review of her debut album The Hurting Scene, the writer Iain Shedden for the Australian opened... > Read more

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

As these two slim, hand-printed, limited edition volumes confirm, the necessaries of the poetic writer are observation and considered contemplation, and the words are vehicles which realise... > Read more