“The Drifter and the Dream part 1” is the newest addition to Matt Townsend’s expanding musical catalogue. The first instalment in a 2-part series, the EP features Townsend on vocals and both acoustic and electric guitars, Bill Berg on drums, and Rodney Easter Jr. handling bass duties. A complement of musicians drop in to layer percussions, organs, and synths for what proves to be a engulfing acoustic experience. Straying from Townsend’s early solo approach, “The Drifter and the Dream” invites listeners to engage in rich tapestry of sound that challenges more than just the auditory senses.
The instrumental diversity provides a moody soundtrack to the North Carolina native’s reflection on contemporary social issues, spirituality, and humanity in general. The album’s cover shows a pyramid superimposed onto a moon resting on top on mountainous terrain. Through the pyramid, we can see a constellation of stars. A translucent Townsend stands in the foreground, with his back to us, staring into the distance. The pyramid is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, as is overlaying onto, well, a moon.
The visual collage also reminded me of a painting by Belgian surrealist Renée Magritte. Magritte often superimposes objects to challenge the way we perceive our surroundings. Aptly, this specific piece is titled “The human condition,” a recurring lyrical theme in “The Drifter and the Dream”. On the “The Great American Madness,” Townsend warns us against our complicit social and political apathy. America imperialism “builds a brand new enemy to sell the same old war / with the perfect pill to pass the time and make you feel alright / and the perfect pill to hide the pain and hide the honest fight.”
Townsend successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund “The Drifter and the Dream part 1” and is currently touring the East Coast before he starts work on the sequel. If you want to catch Matt and the rest of the band, you can pay them a visit at www.matttownsendmusic.com. Check for dates and locations near your home towns… Or give them a follow on social media.