In contrast to the tall tales and murder ballads of debut album ‘Koblenz’ (2012), the third-person distance disappears on ‘Paeonia’. This album is all about the Man From The South himself. About 2012; a difficult year providing the fodder for a full album of beautiful, melancholic songs. Listening to ‘Before the Flood’ or ‘I Already Know’ is like picking through the wreckage in love’s wake. Keep listening, and you’ll wander through more debris, all dark folk and moody Americana with the occasional psychedelic twinge.
This sophomore effort from Man From The South (Paul van Hulten) proves once again that the Eindhoven-born singer is a class act. It’s also a fascinating study of the uneasy silence of a thinker who expresses himself best through his dark songs. With his last album, Man From The South played festivals Eurosonic, Grasnapolsky, and Incubate, among others; radio shows such as Duyster (Studio Brussel); and also made a guest appearance on Jaap Boots (Radio 6). We saw him in ancient churches, small living rooms and murky Belgian pubs. Plenty of performance, sure, but he’s no slick showman. He plays his set, punctuated with an awkward pun or two, and then packs up his gear. It really all comes down to the intimate little stories he sings, made magic by spooky finger-picked guitar.
Like its predecessor, ‘Paeonia’ was recorded on tape by Hermann Blaupunkt in his Eindhoven studio Casa Cassette. Multi-instrumentalist Chris Draaijer added extra dimensions with drones, soundscapes and guitars, and will also be joining Man From The South live on tour.
‘Paul van Hulten is the Man From The South – hailing from our Brabant but sounding more like he came from the States’ deep South. Pure Americana from the Low Lands and strong stuff, this: worn-in voice, intriguing guitar, it’s really good.’ (Mousique)
‘Koblenz is a great melancholic folk album that deserves attention (and fans).’ (3voor12)
‘It’s that moment when the shadows lift at the end of a stormy night. The sunrise approaching, but with dark clouds still hanging in the distance. Go travelling with Man From The South.’ (Kicking the Habit)
‘‘Koblenz’ is a southern jewel – the thoughtful sort, with incredible atmosphere.’ (Kindamuzik)
Agent: Marije van Veen
Label: Quadrofoon records
Availability: Generally available