British folkie Iain Matthews, a founding member of Fairport Convention, delivered his first U.S. album in 15 years earlier this year in the terrific “The Art of Obscurity” and looks to build on that momentum by reissuing a pair of platters previously unavailable in America.
“Joy Mining” found Matthews collaborating with Dutch jazz ensemble Searing Quartet and its piano-playing leader Egbert Derix. Originally released in 2008, the 12-track platter is a mellow gathering of tunes that showcase Matthews stellar vocals and Derix’s keyboard mastery.
Keepers include “In Spite of Myself,” “My Town,” “Randolph Scott,” “Reservoir” and “Another Night in Paradise.”
Matthews and Derix teamed up again a few years later on 2011’s “In the Now,” a similarly-themed nine-track slab that builds on the foundation laif in “Joy Mining.”
Matthews and Derix don’t miss a note on this fantastic release, soaring particularly high on “Jewel of Illusion,” “When Flloyd Were on the Prowl,” “Pebbles in the Road,” personal favorite “Be Small” and “Gone Is Gone.”
At age 67, Matthews is enjoying a very much deserved late-career renaissance and both “Joy Mining” and “In the Now” enhance his legacy. (Jeffrey Sisk)