I’m a Stranger and I Love the Night
Life has come full circle for Mike Mattison. After writing and recording Grammy-winning albums with the Derek Trucks Band and the Tedeschi Trucks Band and touring the world, he has returned to Scrapomatic, the group producer John Snyder found him in and subsequently recommended Mattison as a replacement lead vocalist for Trucks and Co.
Mattison formed Scrapomatic with guitarist Paul Olsen some 14 years ago, and their fourth album I’m A Stranger and I Love the Night, is no doubt an effort to settle some unfinished business. The duo is joined by guitarist Dave Yoke and drummer Tyler Greenwell, who both have also clocked time in Susan Tedeschi’s band and TTB. The 12-track collection produced by Mattison was recorded at Trucks’ Swamp Raga Studios, where the family of musicians has certainly struck upon a formula for creating award winning music.
Olsen shares vocal and writing responsibilities with Mattison on the sweet sounding soul roots rock songs, all of which have a familiar easygoing air. The sing-along sentimentality of the title track is infectious as the duo reflects on the early days of struggle in the Big Apple. Mattison howls at the moon, leading the band through the burning retro rockers “Rat Trap, “and “The Mother of My Wolf.”
The Memphis-style shuffle on “Night Trains, Distant Whistles,” shows off the group’s southern style with flair, while the tender 6/8 ballad “I Surrender” finds Mattison channeling Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. Olsen’s beautiful sing-along “The Party’s Over,” complete with “na na’s,” feels like a lost ’70s classic with a little Derek Trucks slide playing slipped in for good measure. Props must also be given to Jeff Bakos Amp Works for the lush guitar tones throughout the disc.