Music

Video Premiere: William Matheny Covers Tom T. Hall's Mysterious 'How I Got to Memphis'

Melissa Stillwell

They say it takes your whole life to write your first album, and William Matheny's Strange Constellations, released last summer, was indeed a tour de force. The singer-songwriter's combination of heartland rock, Americana, and a keen ear for lyrics is indeed a winner. Matheny is a veteran of Appalachian rock, gigging with Southeast Engine as a multi-instrumentalist and an auxiliary member for Prison Book Club. Strange Constellations propelled Matheny to success, including an incendiary set on NPR's Mountain Stage. It makes a certain amount of sense, then, that Matheny would follow it up with his new album Moon Over Kenova. This 14-song EP (yes, you read that right) is a collection of alternate versions, live cuts, covers, and demos. For Matheny, it's "a last walk-through of a former residence before you lock the door and turn in the key."

In his new video for "That's How I Got to Memphis," Matheny covers Tom T. Hall's tragic ballad. The video has a literal interpretation of the song's title, showing Matheny's absent-minded focus on the road as he logs miles across the United States. Matheny's approach to the song gives a straightforward tearjerker an aura of mystery.

"It's my favorite kind of song to sing, a melody that seems like it's always existed and lyrics that are open enough to leave some mystery for all parties involved," Matheny writes. "Where is Memphis really? Why did they leave? Where have you been? Where are you going? What will you do when you finally get there?"

Moon Over Kenova is out now on Misra Records.

Moon Over Kenova Track Listing

1. "Moon Over Kenova"
2. "Tonight and Every Night From Now On"
3. "That's How I Got to Memphis"
4. "Blood Moon Singer"
5. "Just Be Simple"
6. "God's Left Hand" (Live on Mountain Stage)
7. "Out For Revenge" (Live on Mountain Stage)
8. "Blood Moon Singer" (Live on Mountain Stage)
9. "Moon Over Kenova" (Live on Mountain Stage)
10. "Living Half to Death" (Live on Mountain Stage)
11. "29 Candles" (recorded at The Loft, Huntington, WV, 3/12/16)
12. "God's Left Hand" (recorded at The Loft, Huntington, WV, 3/12/16)
13. "Living Half to Death" (recorded at The Loft, Huntington, WV, 3/12/16)
14. "I Wish I Was Back in West Virginia with the Sun Shining on my Face" (demo)

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Video Premiere: William Matheny Covers Tom T. Hall's Mysterious 'How I Got to Memphis'