Review Summary: Continuing in the tradition of greats like Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, a solid and promising EP.
Matt Townsend named his new EP The Dream (Part 1). Obviously, one or more parts are coming. And as far as I’m concerned, they should be. Does that mean I’m a fan of early phase Bob Dylan (or any other Dylan phase, for that matter) or/and Jackson Browne? Yes, it does, and as you might have guessed, so is Matt Townsend. But then he is a good and observant fan who has incorporated all the good elements of both Dylan and Browne, but quite a few others for that matter.
But then, Townsend is no mimicry monkey. He does make quite a good attempt to hold his influences into something his own, and I think he succeeds. Take for example the opener, The Great American Madness - Townsend manages to combine the music and the lyrical sentiment of the (good) Sixties folk with a very David Lindley guitar sound that made all those Jackson Browne records sound so good. Came Down From The Mountain brings to mind another great Sixties/Seventies singer/songwriter, namely James Taylor, but the lyrics of the song are not so introspective as Taylor’s but tend to express more the sentiments Dylan showed during his so-called folk years. Roaming Twilight adds a string arrangement that gives the song an additional depth and it also comes with Towsend’s best vocal and emotional effort here. Certainly a standout. Freedom Is Calling Again brings back that Lindley style guitar, while Katie with its harmonica and acoustic guitar and vocal inflection also shows is also partial to another singer/songwriter hero, namely Neil Young from his Tonight’s The Night Phase.
After listening to this Part 1, making The Dream a series of songs in few parts seems like quite a good idea, particularly if the next part is going to introduce us to a few more new ideas (or why not, influences). But even if Townsend comes up with something that resembles the music he came up with here, I certainly will not complain.