The Tallest Man on Earth w. Strand of Oaks
Englert Theatre – June 4 at 8:00 p.m.
$17.50 in advance, $20 day of show
I’ll start with addressing the obvious point: Kristian Mattson is not the tallest man on Earth. While he is only of average height, Mattson’s shadow looms large. Armed with one acoustic guitar, slight backup instrumentation and a powerful voice, Mattson’s music channels the spirit of folk legends Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie as well as a modern pop sensibility.
His songs are full of the trenchant observations of the aforementioned duo but infused with a lighter, gentler sensibility. Match these lyrics with excellent guitar playing and you have music that gets stuck in your head like the best songs on the radio. This catchy, poignant folk-pop has earned him a following that extends far outside of his native Sweden.
If the name sounds familiar, that is because Mattson and his guitar have previously visited Iowa City on three different occasions. The first time, he played in the basement of the Jefferson Building to a completely packed room. I remember running into people on the street who were turned away. They had a genuine sadness in their eyes, like they couldn’t see their hero. Hopefully, those fans were able to see him when he played at The Mill. There were still some sad kids roaming in downtown Iowa City because the show sold out.
If you were one of the miserably unlucky ones who didn’t get to see him both of those times, this is your chance.
Photo by Rich Orris