One of my favourite country musicians is Matt Joe Gow, who I have been fortunate enough to see play in concert a few times now, the last in the company of Kerryn Fields. He has a wonderful presence, with a voice packed full of emotion which always takes the listener on a powerful journey. This EP provides us with a rather different take on his music, as it contains five versions of “Between Tonight & Tomorrow”, which originally featured on his most recent album of the same name. Whereas that was recorded with his band The Dead Leaves, and was somewhat more aggressive and in your face, the first take on this set is a reprise which is slowed down and far more emotional. Dedicated to his mother, here he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar and the background there is picked mandolin, and for the most part that is the only accompaniment to his wonderful vocals. We are carried on a wave of thoughtful and poignant emotion, and there is no doubt this is one of the most important songs he has yet recorded as all that exists is his voice and the music as the world falls away and recedes.
That being said, the other versions are very different indeed, and Matt definitely called it when he said I may not be a fan. “The remixes are the brainchild of my long-time engineer Chris Elliott,” he explained. “We share a love of trip hop (Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky) and he felt the style would offer a unique perspective.” It does that, with one very much in that style, followed by an instrumental take, and then an ambient version, and then the instrumental of that. It is definitely not my style of music, and for me it removes all the pathos and emotion of the original, but it is always good to see musicians looking to extend themselves even if it is not to my own personal taste. I am totally unqualified to review those versions, so will just say they are there, but having played them a few times I am unlikely to do so again. As for the reprise which is the lead number on this? Simply wonderful and a great introduction to Matt if you have yet to come across him.