Posts Tagged ‘Michael Mattice’

Michael Mattice hand and strings from videoI’ve written several times here over the summer about my friend Michael Mattice‘s  debut album,  Comin’ Home.  It has been really well received here and abroad,  drawing great reviews from a number of different venues. Below is the first video from the album of the song, Led to Gold, a favorite of mine from the album as it really highlights his abilities on the guitar.  The video has a few DC landmarks recognizable to most as well as the lesser known but  no less spectacular Great Falls, just above DC on the Potomac.  It’s a really well done video to a strong song.

It’s been interesting watching Mike’s creative arc over the past several months.  In September, we spoke at length about the ebb and flow that comes with creativity, especially in how the public reacts to it–overnight success is seldom as quickly gained as it appears on the surface,  I advised that he not be too swept up in this waxing and waning in the short-term and we both agreed that  patience and trust in your own abilities and vision are key to maintaining your course.  If you stay true to your vision, people will come around eventually.   And in Mike’s case, I believe this absolutely true.

Hope you’ll enjoy this!

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John Lee HookerI have been listening to my young friend Michael Mattice‘s debut CD, Comin’ Home,  quite a bit lately.  It’s been really well received, putting him regularly near the top of the “hot releases” in acoustic blues list from Amazon.  The mp3 album has been as high as #18 on their top 100 and currently sits at #84 in acoustic blues.  A really prodigious start for a self-produced album with no real promotion outside of the word of mouth created by Mike’s shows.   Like I said here before,  based not on sheer talent (of which he has loads) but on his devotion and drive, I see big things for him.

But the point of this is that listening to Mike brought me back to one of my first musical loves, the late blues great  John Lee Hooker.  Oh, I had favorite bands and songs but it was John Lee who I felt first spoke to me directly.  I remember coming across an old beaten up copy of one of his albums from the 50’s when i was in my teens.  It was a revelation, a sonic slap in the face with distorted electric wails coming from his guitar, all in a mesmerizing rhythm.

I didn’t know anything about the man at the time, didn’t know that he couldn’t read or his place in the history of the blues.  Didn’t even know of his rebirth a few years before my finding his album as a result of the British Invasion of the 1960’s, when youngs Brits discovered and brought the music of the great bluesmen to the world’s attention, giving them new and greater fame than they had had in their primes.

None of that mattered.  It was just the groove on that album that counted.

I found and listened to more of John Lee’s music over the years.  I was intrigued by the constancy of much of  it, the driving rhythm that is his signature which pervades most of his work.  Some might call it repetition.  I didn’t see it that way.  It was all about nuance and subtle explorations within the form and performance.  You know a John Lee Hooker song immediately but each is different and carries its own weight and emotion.

I carried that thought with me when I began painting and hoped that my work would operate in that same way.  I wanted to have that repetitive quality so that the work would be easily identified as mine but to have the differentiation  occur in the individual performance of the act of  painting.  By limiting what I painted I was able to go deeper into an exploration of the subtle aspects of the composition.  They sometime looked similar but were often widely different in tone and emotion.

When it works I feel like John Lee Hooker must have when he was in his groove.  One of my favorite lines from one of his albums, I believe it was a live set from Soledad Prison, was- “If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul… and that ain’t good

Here’s a video from the 60’s when he was in midst of being found by the youth around the world.  It’s one of his trademark songs, Boom Boom.

Late addition: Here’s the song from Soledad Prison– Boogie Everywhere I Go. Be careful– it’s a deep groove.


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Michael Mattice  bw 2013I just wanted to remind any readers in or near the DC area  that there is a free show in support of his new CD , Comin’ Home, from singer/songwriter Michael Mattice tomorrow night, Thursday July 11th, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.  It is a great chance to catch a rising talent in a really intimate setting and I urge you to come on out if you can make it.  If not, pick up a copy of his CD — you won’t be disappointed.  It is gaining steam and has been sitting at the top of the Hot New Releases on Amazon for some time now.

His acoustic  guitar work on it is impeccable, creating rich, complex  textures for his songs.  I was expecting that, having watched his guitar prowess  through his years at Berklee.    The guy can outright play.  But it’s the songwriting that caught me off guard.  I wasn’t expecting such a cohesive set of songs with choruses that I find myself singing along to and melodies and rhythms  that hang with you long after you stop listening.

This is a strong and consistent effort that excites me from a creative standpoint.  There’s a real purity in Mike’s work here, a genuine and confident voice that has evolved  as he has voraciously absorbed everything around him.  It’s what you want to see in any artist but it’s  a rare thing to find.

This is a wonderful CD but , moreover, it is portending a future- it is not a culmination.  It is a giant first step in what I see as  a creative arc that stretches high and far, a truly impressive debut that sets a really high baseline for his future work.  A baseline that I have no doubt he will exceed time and time again.

So, if you can, see Michael Mattice at the Principle Gallery Thursday.  The event starts at 6 PM and Mike is expected to begin around 7.

Check out his site for more info and to preview the CD.

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GC Myers- Bluesunblues I was on the road yesterday, going out to Erie. The drive out there takes around three and a half hours, most of it on wide, empty highway going through some of the more sparsely populated parts of New York.  Many people don’t think of NY as having such emptiness and space.  It’s an easy drive, one that allows you to listen fully to music. I spent my drive listening to a lot of things, really taking them in. I listened a few times to Michael Mattice‘s new CD, Comin’ Home, that I have mentioned here recently.  It’s his debut effort and really showcases his special talents as a singer-songwriter  and a top flight guitarist wonderfully.  Mike creates an amazing full and deep sound with his playing on this CD  which has it gathering a lot attention as it’s #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Acoustic Blues.  I urge you to check it out.

I also listened to one of my favorites, guitarist Martin Simpson.  Like Michael, his work is marked by its full and rich texture.  Just great stuff.  Here’s She Slips Away, a song that I think really captures the essence of his playing.

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Earlier, while writing about the release yesterday of his album, Comin’ Home, I showed a video of some earlier work of Michael Mattice.  I didn’t t realize then  that there was a link that took you to one of the songs from the new CD, Windowpane. Here it is:


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Michael Mattice Comin' Home Cover 2013I 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.

Comin’ Home is available now on  iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, as well as a number of other online outlets.  You can also order it from his site, Mattice Music.  

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.

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