Essential New Music: Matt North’s “Above Ground Fools”

Matt North has a résumé that includes stints as a standup comic, an actor on Curb Your Enthusiasm and a Nashville session musician. He’s been writing songs for decades, but this is the first time he’s recorded them, and the result is impressive. His band is composed of Nashville session heavies who add plenty of punch to these cheerfully cynical tales of hard luck and disastrous relationships. “A Good Day In Nashville” is a surrealistic journey through the lives of musicians trying to make a living in Music City, driven by grinding guitars and a strong country backbeat. Jazzy, late-night guitar opens “Murder Shows” on a mellow note, but the music builds to an aggressive climax as this tale of a disintegrating marriage unfolds. “Come Here Go Away” revisits the nightmares of the music business with an ironic portrait of a cliché-spouting executive with no interest in anyone but himself.

—j. poet