”THE COYOTE’S CALL”
©2008 Independently Released
Review by Lucky Boyd
Matt Koger’s sophomore offering redefines his entire career and reclassifies him as a serious songwriter and performer. Koger’s writing has matured as has his vocal delivery and composition skills. Still relatively young at all this, Koger is ready to stand with those who have come before him. Lyrically, this album showcases Koger’s developmental symbolism and sets him apart with respect to diversity. Still adept at comedic cuts and of-the-moment poignancy, Koger sounds much more relaxed on this album, gleaming with the knowledge that he has the qualities required to be successful a this music thing. An impressive list of pickers don the album and John Kent is back in the producer’s chair. Kent knows Koger and how to record him and surrounds each of his stories with the needed character to deliver a stellar recording. “The Hangover Song” uses a built chorus as many bar songs do, and Kent captures it well giving the song a memorable outro that will make Koger endure requests for the song. I typically frown on what I call ‘text message titles’ so I wasn’t sure about “Me&U” but Koger will get a forgiving nod from me because the song is just that good. (even though the song’s tag is “you and me” [twice] instead of “me and you”) Koger’s subject matter and Kent’s use of the lamenting banjo makes the song a keeper. Okay, now I don’t usually laugh out loud listening to anything, mostly because I’ve pretty much heard it all before, but the song, “The Poultry Judgement Day” made me laugh on several levels. Now follow me here, I don’t want you to get lost. First, Koger is a physician. Yep, a real doctor, and he’s written a song about the bird flu. Now every doctor I know will tell you that there’s really no such thing as the bird flu in America when it comes to human casualties. As a matter of fact, in my research I couldn’t find a single case. But, in Koger’s song, his relationship is indeed a casualty, and I laughed. Now wait. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Koger’s spelling of ‘judgement’ is the British, or overseas spelling of the word, and not the traditional American spelling. [judgment] This made me laugh again knowing that the very title of the song inferred that the subject matter was not one for Americans to really worry about. Sorry, but my brain just works that way. Get yourself a history lesson in “Mobile Bay.” “Monday Morning Blues” uses great symbolism to get a point across and the modern arrangement is fitting. By far, this album represents Koger’s best work to date and is just a glimpse of things to come from this talented performer whose stock is definitely rising. You’ll like the story of Nick on the hidden track, but it’s just the cherry on an otherwise tasty dish.
Stats: 13 tracks, plus hidden track; all written by Koger, Musicians: Koger, Kent, Barry Compton, Joe Butcher, Jason Andrew, Tony Kent, Matt Shaw; Produced by John Kent; Mastered by Jerry Tubb; single fold digi-pack, full color disc, replicated, liner notes; Running time: approximately 60 minutes
Matt Koger returns with an all-original follow up to 2006’s critically-acclaimed debut “BLACKLAND.” Named “THE COYOTE’S CALL,” this is the next step in Koger’s evolution from a hobbiest to a serious songwriter. Drawing on people he’s met, stories he’s heard and experiences he’s had, Koger has crafted authentic windows into the world of Americana. Koger, a husband and father of four, remains a full-time family physician in Northeast Texas. “THE COYOTE’S CALL” once again pairs Koger with producer John Kent. Full scale arrangements including steel guitar, fiddle and organ fill out the traditional instrumentation. The tracks were recorded in Kent’s The Vault Studio in Celeste, Texas.
Some insight in to each track on this CD:
1. Blackland Reprise: a rockin’ version of this tale of reality/struggle/progress
2. El Coyote: an account of the “human smugglers” of Mexico
3. Black Eye-Susan: a song for tom-boys everywhere
4. The Hangover Song: a bar-room/live anthem
5. Ramblin’ Rose: a ballad of a honky-tonk queen
6. Me&U: a love song
7. The Poultry Judgement Day: the best break-up song you never heard
8. Mobile Bay: a civil war saga set to song
9. The Pony Song: the story of a failed race-horse
10. Monday Morning Blues: getting over the MMB can take weeks
11. Songwriter’s Lament: a song for all the dreamers
12. The Road: we are all on the “Road”, question is are we alone?
13. Back To The Sea: an autobiographical cabin demo
Hidden track: Nick The B.A.R. Man: a roast of a storyteller friend of mine
©2006 Independently Released
Review by Lucky Boyd
This album is all about storytelling and Matt Koger is one of the best. Songwriters who can take an observation and turn it into song are a treasure. Koger has found song in observations inspired by life, betrayal, religion, family, unproved speculation and current events. A stranger neither to the poignant nor the comedic, Koger uses his great storytelling voice to deliver each track much like an actor approaches a well-written script. Much of what defines Matt Koger is present in the disc. The instrumentation is successful at inserting mood into each of the album's 14 cuts. (15 with the hidden track) John Kent does an excellent job of capturing Koger's intensity and Jerry Tubb's mastering helps deliver another fine product. Refreshing is the fact that Koger opted for quality rather than commercial viability, leaving the disc without Nashville polish. Instead, songs like "Betty's Last Stand" becomes an anthem for those in Betty's shoes, and songs like "James" make people say, "I know that guy!" "Fort Worth Moon" has a clever slant on an old topic, and Koger duets with his young daughter on a song he wrote for her titled "Ally's Song." The title cut is worth the price of the album and Koger's talents are sure to be noticed for their sincerity and insight. No need to call 9-1-1, get the disc and you'll know why.
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