When PolyGram refused to release his 1983 record Shook in either the U.S. or England, Iain Matthews became disillusioned and decided to put his career on hold indefinitely. Following a stint as an A&R man for both Island and Windham Hill Records, he returned in 1988 with an album dedicated solely to the songs of Jules Shear. Issued by Windham Hill, Walking a Changing Line was the label's first vocal release, though it still retained touches of the label's trademark new age sound throughout.
After five straight solo recordings with producer Mark Hallman at the helm – going back to 1988 – Iain Matthews decided to handle the production duties, along with guitarist Bradley Kopp, for 1999's Excerpts from Swine Lake. Whereas his last couple of recordings lived and died with his writing or vocals, here Matthews and Kopp inject the material with a vibrance that has been somewhat scarce in his work since 1990's Pure & Crooked. It also doesn't hurt that this is as consistent a collection of original music that he's put to record.
After a two-month tour in 1999, Dave and Tim closed their acoustic run on the evening of March 13 at the Berkeley Community Theater in Berkeley, CA. The duo’s time on the road leading up to this night shows as the performance is exceptional. From the first note of the “Granny” opener, to the encore of "Digging A Ditch”, "Lover Lay Down", and "Ants Marching,” there is not an ill note throughout. And yet, it’s not only DMB favorites that shine; but also Tim’s skilled playing of his complex original compositions, as well as fantastic covers of Daniel Lanois’ "For The Beauty of Wynona" and Lyle Lovett’s "If I Had A Boat", make this show a true listening pleasure. This intimate performance has been mixed from the original multitrack tapes.