Every so often, an up-and-comer in the Americana scene dares to do differently. While much could be said for the country revivalists and the rollicking, anthemic folk-rockers of the current age, there’s something to be said for the gray areas around and in-between these modern-day standards of the rootsy milieu. Somewhere sonically between Browne, Springsteen, and Ike Reilly, West Virginian William Matheny innovates Americana on his full-length debut, Strange Constellations. He does so primarily with his trademark keys, adding a piano pop flourish to what might otherwise be taken as another rendition of well-seared, bombastic blues and country music.
Though his range is fairly middle-of-the-road, Matheny does well with his ability to interpret emotion in his lyrical vocalization. He shares a knack with the folksters and country boys of old in that he can sell a story. Beside his seasoned piano chops, Matheny’s work makes a compelling debut.