On his third album, Robb both honors his inspirations and presents a personal vision of Americana.
It is in no way unusual that Americana artists of all shapes and colours have both Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt deep in their hearts. The problem for many though is how to infuse their own music with the inspirations they draw from such mercurial artists. Many of them make mistakes here. They either try to mimic the vocal stylings of these two giants or their specific storytelling style. Sometimes, both. And as could be expected, it doesn’t bode well for them.
Listening to UK’s Mathew Robb and his third album ‘War Without Witness,’ you immediately realize that Robb loves both Dylan and Van Zandt. He’s not ashamed of it, and he certainly shouldn’t be. But, unlike many inspired by the two Americana legends, Robb honours his inspirations in all the right ways.
First of all, he has sussed the essence of both Dylan’s and Van Zandt’s music and storytelling and has incorporated it into his personal musical and lyrical vision. Secondly, he has enough musical sense and knowledge not to try to imitate either of those inspirations, vocally or lyrically.
Robb is his own man, and the fact that he works and lives in Germany adds a specific touch of personal experience. That personal experience is expressed through his vision of Americana in all the right ways. More than just very good.