Matt Paxton – How The Land Lies

We’re late to the game on this one: Paxton released it in April 2011 after a year of heartbreak and oaken maturation. The slow-tempo country of this record negotiates a careful balance with its maritime images (Listen to Charlotte (My Wild Valley Wind) — shades of Conor Oberst speak to distances, water and lost love). These are picked-over songs of ruined and unrequited love for the ocean and its women.

In an interview, Paxton speaks to the closeness of the recording process: the inclusion of friends who understand the devastation of the stories, collaboration with an engineer from Hamilton, Paxton’s hometown. The record benefits from the comradery of its personnel — it feels like a resolution instead of a recovery.

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