KRVS

The Tallest Man On Earth: Tired Of Running

Jun 11, 2012
Originally published on June 12, 2012 10:11 am

Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson performs as The Tallest Man on Earth. That's just his stage name, though: Matsson himself stands at about 5 feet 7. His new album, There's No Leaving Now, comes out Tuesday.

Matsson has been praised as a poet, and is frequently compared to Bob Dylan. He often sings about nature, inspired by the scenery near his home in Falun, Sweden.

"Outside my window is a big field, and maybe 200 meters down, there's the river, and on the opposite side of my house, there's the woods," he says.

His music can be mellow — it's constructed from simple folk-music ingredients — but that's not how Matsson says he sees himself.

"As you can probably hear, I'm kind of a stressed-out guy," he says.

Matsson says he's dealt with stress and anxiety in his music, and his older songs often return to the theme of running away. But on his new record, he brings a fresh outlook: a feeling of wanting to confront, not run. His recent marriage seems to have made him stronger.

"This whole album is about wanting to stay and deal with your own weaknesses and wanting to deal with your anxieties and stuff," he says.

The new Matsson says he channels his anxiety into his performances.

"When it's just me, I have to reach out to the audience and try to bond a little with them," he says. "In another way, they're all I've got."

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LEADING ME NOW")

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now to some new music from a Swedish singer/songwriter. Kristian Matsson performs as The Tallest Man on Earth. That's his stage name; he stands at just about fived foot seven inches tall. He's one of NPR Music's favorite artists and he's got a new album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LEADING ME NOW")

GREENE: If you're hearing a hint of Bob Dylan, you're not alone. Matsson has been praised as a poet, drawing some comparisons to Dylan. He often sings about nature, words inspired by the scenery near his home in Falun, Sweden.

: Outside my window is a big field. And maybe 200 meters down, there's the river. And on the opposite side of my house, there's the woods.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TO JUST GROW AWAY")

GREENE: His music sounds pretty mellow, but Matsson doesn't see himself that way.

: As you can probably hear from - I'm this kind of a stressed out guy.

GREENE: Matsson has dealt with stress and anxiety. His older songs return to the theme of running away. But on his new record, called "There's No Leaving Now," he brings a fresh outlook, a feeling of wanting to confront, not run. His recent marriage seems to have made him stronger.

: This whole album is about wanting to stay. Wanting to stay and deal with your own weaknesses and anxieties and stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "1904")

GREENE: The new Matsson says any anxiety that's there, he channels it into his performances.

: When it's just me, I have to reach out to the audience and try to bond a little with them. In another way, they're all I've got.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WINDS AND WALLS")

GREENE: That's Kristian Matsson, also known as The Tallest Man on Earth. His new album, "There's No Leaving Now," is out tomorrow and you can hear it now at NPRMusic.org. And addition to releasing the new album, Matsson is out on tour performing solo - just a man, his voice and his guitar.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WINDS AND WALLS")

GREENE: And you're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WINDS AND WALLS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.