I was on the road so I didn’t get a chance to post that a new CD titled Comin’ Home came out yesterday from my friend, Michael Mattice. I’ve talked about Mikey here before, most recently in the notes after my recent opening at the Principle Gallery. I’ve known him since he was a gangly kid of 13 or 14 tagging along with his Dad at events at the gallery. Even then Mikey gave off a tightly focused vibe, like he was there in the physical sense only while his mind was elsewhere, running through an unending set of musical charts that had his full attention. I recognized his obsessive look that said that he something deeper to express, that it was in him and was eating impatiently at him from the inside.
Mikey had started his musical journey early, taking up the flute and piano at age 8 , adding a proficiency at electric and upright bass to his repertoire in his middle school years. But the guitar always held his deepest fascination. He studied guitar at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating last year. After graduation, he toured as guitarist with Jamaican Aria Morgan‘s tour to promote her album, Full Time Love, as well as playing with the progressive metal band Yantra that he had co-founded while still at Berklee.
But time came to begin to get back to that obsessive inner voice which led to the release of his new CD yesterday that features his compositions, voice and playing. It’s a mix of folk, blues, country and indie rock but it’s all Mikey. I had followed his work through the years from afar and knew primarily of his prodigious talents as progressive metal guitarist so when he passed on to me a 3 song preview of the new CD at the gallery, I was expecting work in that genre. But from the first moments I could tell that I had only seen a small glimpse of his talent in his previous work. It started with a song, Train Hoppin’, that is drenched in the sound and feel of the early folk blues, recorded on the same sort of period recording equipment that Robert Johnson and other early blues pioneers used in the 20’s and 30’s. It is his homage to the influences that paved the way for his own work, which is shown more fully in the next two songs, Back to You and Window Pane. These songs feel like his authentic voice which is exciting, making me eager to hear more from this CD.
Mike will also be doing a special acoustic show promoting the CD at the Principle Gallery on Thursday, July 11, from 6-9 PM. If you can make it, this should be a wonderful opportunity to experience his wonderful talent in an intimate setting. It could be one of those things where you can tell your friends years from now about how lucky you were to see Mike play early in his career.
Just to show off a bit of his talent and dexterity, here’s a clip from his progressive work with Yantra.