Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
There are those demons who take possession very seriously, who wander through the valley of spirits undisturbed by the reckless, the beige and the ones suffering in their own denial. They wander until the right person comes along with a plan of action formulating in their mind, their sense of belief burgeoning, pulsating in time with the heartbeat of the Universe; the demons find their target and give the artist the meaning behind their often enjoyable and tremendous live appearances.
The demons that run the night on stage, the adrenaline, the nerves, the showmanship and the fear of fouling up, of creating nonsense which will be remembered, all are demons which need to be preserved, they require feeding and like all good freaks, deserve respect.
It is a respect shown utterly by Oxfordshire’s Krissy Matthews, a man from one of the most beautiful counties in the country, as he plays to a live audience at the Freak Valley Festival in Siegen, Germany. A show which whilst recorded live has no pretence that it is anything but the product of a pounding heart and wild imagination; so wild that a sting of horses chasing the moon across the plains could not hope to catch the momentum offered by Mr. Matthews’ and his band.
Aided by Sam Weston on bass and Max Maxwell on drums, the guitar slinger tames those horses, makes the wild stallion snort in foam and rage at the thought of being upstaged by a human being and makes those who were in the audience for this super display of musicianship feel as though they have won a magnificent prize in life’s lottery.
Catching any artist live should be the aspiration of any music lover, yet still too many find their way blocked by the determination of television talent contests; not so with Krissy Matthews’ Live At Freak Valley, this is the rawness of expression captured in its glory, the sublime effect of being at the right space at the right time and with everything that can go right and wrong living in harmony with each other during the performance.
With songs such as I’ve Been Searching, Searching The Desert For The Blues, The Soul Will Never Die, Freedom and Bad Boy all jostling for attention within the captured set, Krissy Matthews takes those demons and treats them with huge amounts of respect and love. It is a set that reflects the man’s utter determination to showcase the Blues.
A fantastic live album, wonderfully captured and presented, Live At Freak Valley is a great way to dance with the demons and watch them flourish as angels.
Krissy Matthews’ Live At Freak Valley is releases on Friday 14th April .
Ian D. Hall