The Walt Wilkins and Ron Flynt-produced debut by Robert Mark Abrahams unfolds exactly as if it lives up to its title, Matinee, in the sense that it very well could be its own feature film. Perhaps not all songs in the album’s sequence fit together like a movie typically does (depending on who’s directing the picture), but it certainly contains ample detail, and Abrahams’ distinctful storytelling is as captivating as any great silver screen scene could carry.
With gristle in his voice (reminiscent of Dave Van Ronk), the delivery in Abraham’s songs are much like that of Guy Clark and also carry with them whispers of Leonard Cohen. Songs such as “Henry’s Violin,” “Mamma’s Eyes,” and “Simple Days in Texas” are mere life lessons and experiences told from Abrahams’ perspective storytelling in undertones of the blues.
In “Henry’s Violin”: “it’s been sixty years since the walls have seen paint.” In “Mamma’s Eyes,” the tale unfolds: “you gotta cross that river … somehow she always knew … can’t hide from Mamma’s eyes” is a tear jerker about a son and his Mamma who’s passed on. The stories are hushed, and the music is restrained and full of tension as the anticipation builds.
Abrahams’ musicianship on this record is everything to be noted as his folk-style guitar playing gives nod to the familiar sound of John Fahey. His guest musicians which include violinist Warren Hood, vocalist Libby Koch, cellist Julie Carter, and Geoff Queen on dobro, pedal steel and mandolin, make for a real folk record sessions dream team.
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