The Tallest Man on Earth: Hiatus Breaker in Fort Collins


Bradford Stahl

Swedish singer-songwriter dances, squats, and woo’s the crowd at the new Washington’s in Fort Collins.

“I don’t think there could be a better place to come back,” announced Kristian Matsson, a man also known by his stage name, The Tallest Man on Earth. A lone, inebriated girl from the back expelled, “welcome back” and what a welcome back it was. After a two year touring hiatus, Kristian Matsson surprised the crowd with a performance of unreleased singles, oldies, and songs from his last full length record, Dark Bird Is Home.

Unsure of what the night would behold an intimate set by The Still Tide allowed for a smooth transition into Matsson’s set. Matsson gave a nice shout out in between “Revolution Blues” and the new, unreleased “All I Can Keep Is Now, to the The Still Tides lead singer, Anna Morsett. Morsett resides in Colorado and has become a staple in the Colorado music community. “I love you, Anna” remarks Matsson. Anna appreciated the praise.

Gravelly voiced Matsson opened with “Like The Wheel.” The intensity in his voice came from the fluctuating power and simultaneous harrowing whisper. A voice that sounds like an overdrive pedal. A voice that sighs like a newborn. The guitar change between every song hailed a lot of beautiful equipment. He was passed a red Telecaster, a red Gibson ES 335, and a multitude of small acoustic guitars that only he seemed to know the tuning. With a Capo typically placed on the twelfth fret, his songs are reminiscent of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and John Prine. Protesting only emotions of faded relationships.

Still shaking off the cobwebs of his two year touring lapse, a couple mistakes were made. Brushed off and easily recovered by Matsson, the crowd felt the sense of a more raw Tallest Man on Earth. As an avid fan since high school I was delighted to finally see the man who released The Wild Hunt, a stranded-on-an-island-with-one-album record. The crowd listened with anxious ears to the two unreleased singles “All I Can Keep Is Now” and “I’m A Stranger Now.”

Highlights of the night include the raucous Fort Collins locals who hit the bar beforehand, the echoing call-and-response of theI’m A Stranger Nowsong’s chorus with the crowd response, “We are strangers now,” and a small cover of Abba’s “Winner Takes It All into Love Is All.” Most importantly fulfilling a promise I had made to myself when I was a junior in high school that I would see The Tallest Man on Earth, that was in 2013. This show exceeded all expectations. A special thank you to the fine people at Washingtons, Alex Scott for grabbing me a ticket, Trent Koch and Emily Naill for the help writing the article, and especially Kristian Matsson for sharing the night with the “sweet people of Fort Collins.”