Matt Urmy Pulls from His Folk Influences

New Season Comin' explores dark, haunted spaces

In the absence of R.B. Morris' long-awaited new album, Knoxville can do with Matt Urmy's New Season Comin'. Urmy's not a Morris clone, but he draws on the same influences—Beat poetry, Tom Waits, and Bob Dylan in particular—and he explores the same dark, haunted spaces with the same kind of smoky, defeated romanticism that Morris and Waits specialize in. Waits especially haunts the new disc—the gravel-voiced Urmy, a New York native who recently moved to Nashville after several years in Knoxville, sounds like a young Waits on New Season Comin', especially when he delivers long spoken interjections ("Raging Hearts," "Renaissance Rodeo"). He also resembles John Prine when Tom Pryor's steel guitar and Jamie Cook's shuffling drums steer the songs in the direction of straight country, as on "Cry Freedom" and "Cup of Grace." But the vocal similarities and obvious debt to established tradition don't diminish Urmy's originality. New Season Comin' is a fully formed album; Urmy's absorbed influences from across the folk and folk-rock spectrum, but he's turned it all into something his own.