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William Matheny may be the best songwriter working, and is at a minimum the best songwriter you might have never heard of. For those who haven’t had that good fortune, let’s go, as Warner Wolfe used to say, to the videotape. Consider his 2018 standout single “Christian Name,” which is like Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream” if it had been “Runnin’ Down A Nightmare.” Or reckon with “Living Half to Death,” the comically terrifying instant classic from 2017’s Strange Constellations in which he apologizes for “abusing all his friendships and drinking all their beer.”
Over the past four years, he has assembled a wondrous catalog which situates itself amongst the indelible tradition of roots-rock misfits like Guy Clark and Lowell George, with just enough Jackson Browne-craft and Springsteen-triumphalism to make the thing potentially huge.