When: Sat., April 17, 9 p.m. 2010
From: New York
Claim to Fame: Hi-harmonies, lo-feelings
Not so long ago, particularly when the Georgia-bred, Brooklyn-based songwriter Matthew Houck, who calls himself Phosphorescent, released the 2007 album Pride, the goal seemed to be twofold: Write decent country-ish songs and send them sailing with elements too weird for Americana to allow—discordant horns, shambolic rhythms, astral harmonies, broken whispers. Houck aimed, it seemed, to put the Great American Songbook on the Moon. But on last year’s full-length Willie Nelson tribute, To Willie, and the forthcoming Here’s to Taking it Easy, Houck pulls the universe back toward songs that are stronger in the first place. Suddenly, Houck treats his tales of unfaithfulness, anxieties and weariness like standards, showcasing new confidence in craft, not affect.