Tracy Chapman may sound like a lazy comparison, but I think it's a valid one: Matthews shares her direct songwriting approach and delivery; her intricate guitar patterns bring to mind Ani DiFranco. Following in both songwriters' footsteps, Matthews' EP is a fantastic collection of protest music, sure to bring a balm to the hearts of everyone weary of the onslaught against minorities' rights under Our Dear Leader.
What strikes me most about Battle Hymn is that, in some ways, it's a pretty happy album. I think a lot of the time protest music comes from a place of anger and fear, which can be wearing. But Matthews' work -- I highly encourage you to listen to her other recent release, The Imagineers -- is imbued with love. Not squishy romantic love, but love in the radical sense: a deep belief in human goodness and a worldview that seeks to bring that goodness out of people. It's this love that elevates these songs that would, in lesser hands, sound cliche or insipid. Battle Hymn For an Army of Lovers is required listening for all of us.
Crys Matthews -- Official, Facebook, iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby
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