Mr Means has a distinctive voice, obvious from the opening song on this album, with a slightly nasal quality that is something many a good country singer has. Delicate Mind unleashes the sound of a strident guitar and swirling organ which leads to Sleeves, a twang filled tale of regret. And so it is on the remainder of Light Matter a blend of country rock, unfrontness and obscure tales. But the way that Alias Means sings his songs allows for no mumbled phrases here. A sense of some Dylanesque surrealism is mixed with some straight down the line observation. His voice is such that it takes centre stage in the mix and gives this roots rock its character and cause.
Means is the writer and producer of these ten songs that utilise his six players to full advantage. These are experienced players who have worked with the likes of I See Hawks in La, Glen Campbell and other such notables in and around California. So these are experienced players who get into the spirit of Means' music. Marty Rifkin's pedal steel gives the songs a good helping of their country music credentials. Means himself a part of the LA country circuit who pens a mean song; you get drawn in while your feet tap and your ears listen and you soon like what you're hearing.
Rather than the current mode of crowd funding, the press release tells us that a part of the money to make the album came from Means’ skill at a loved hobby - gambling. He won and lost, playing the casino circuit, but obviously from the reality of the album he made more than he lost. However, this not a route that Lonesome Highway would recommend to aspiring music makers.
Though I'm occasionally reminded of other artists, usually from a few decades ago, there's nothing particularly retro about the music that Means is making. This music that must count for a lot as it was made after he suffered and recovered from a life threatening injury that convinced him he should make make this album. A "life's too short" epiphany suggests that Light Matter came from some rather heavy experiences, but the end result has an airiness and aspiring attitude that makes it an easy listen but, thankfully, not easy listening music. There is a spirit behind this music that is catching and pretty soon you’re right there with Alias and equally thankful that he got to do this.