6-String Ranch 2020
Texan guitarist and his coterie of kindred spirits tap into the soul of a person that cares.
There’s nothing comically supernatural about this work, so any link to a popular TV series would be purely coincidental here. Issued simultaneously with "Parlor" where acoustic strings cast exquisite shadows across a sun-dappled chamber, “Being Human” couldn’t be more different from its companion – as signaled by an enigmatic idol and runic letters on the album’s cover. It might be the Austin artist’s most introspective album, touching on many a sensitive subject yet somewhat guarding all the vulnerable spots there are.
Not for nothing “How We Got To Here” – a gentle rumination on aging and fate – is bookended, or rather defended, with two relentlessly raucous numbers, classic rock ‘n’ roll “I Got The Girl” and heavy blues “Down In The Hole” which is anxiously triumphant. Overall, it’s a very warm record, though, “Sanctuary” starting the song cycle with guitar’s glimmer and organ’s purr and building momentum to let Matt air his worries with regards to refugees and aliens’ loneliness, picking up where his old cut “Jesus In Mexico” left off, while the title track pitches the ideal of equality in the slider-kissed spiritual ballad – light and profound – as if to contrast the funky groove that drives “Everybody Wanna Do The Don’t” to the fuzzy frontiers of quirky voluntarism.
So while the piano-propelled hymn “God Is Watching Over You” feels too sweet for its hopeful message, orchestral march notwithstanding, the old-timey “I’d Do Anything For You” directs Smith’s croon at a personal relationship – something ultimately human. Baring one’s soul can be a frightening experience, but Matt exposed his fears for all to relate to – and made “Being Human” an individual milestone.