Matt Hires Tour 2020

Matt Hires Tour 2020:Matt Hires’ music has several times starred on Grey’s Anatomy, and that’s exactly where I had the distinct pleasure of hearing ‘Out Of The Dark’. I became obsessed, and quickly found a copy of the song and his earlier work. His curious mix of haunting instrumentals with a very solid and clear vocal style intrigued me, and definitely set him apart from a lot of other artists I was used to at the time. When I heard he was going to be at SXSW, I realised that it would be worth checking out his performance, and I was so pleasantly surprised, that I became one of the eager fans waiting for his debut album that was schedule to come out soon after. ‘Life From The Hotel Cafe’ came out soon after in 2009, with four incredibly unique and beautiful tracks that had critics comparing him to Jack Johnson and Bright Eyes.

Matt Hires was charismatic, sensitive, and incredibly professional during his performance, and I felt so melancholic yet peaceful during his live performance of ‘Out Of The Dark’ that I can’t really find another live concert to compare the feeling with. He’s an artist with a great sense of musical fusion, and he combines the best aspects of artists he himself admires, and his own wonderful talents, to create something really, truly wonderful.

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American Wilderness, the striking new Rock Ridge Music album by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Matt Hires, pays off the promise the musician makes to himself in
“Begin Again,” one of the album’s key songs, to “shake the dust and start over.”

Produced by Randall Kent in Music City, the 10-song collection is a unified and probing
work in which Hires – previously known for his work on F Stop Music/Atlantic Records
– has created an intensely personal and self-revealing song-suite where he contemplates
his life and his beliefs amid the oft-cacophonous backdrop of modern America.

Hires says, “It’s the most cohesive body of work that I’ve put out, and I didn’t intend it to
be that way – it just happened. One of the first songs I wrote for the album was the first
track, ‘Fighting a Ghost.’ The second verse contains the line that the title of the album
came from. A lot of the ideas behind a lot of the other songs came from that – feeling a
little lost amidst all the noise and commotion of culture and society. There’s a lot of
struggling and wrestling with faith in the record, too.”

The making of American Wilderness was prefaced by a period of profound personal
change for Hires. The well-traveled artist had previously issued two full-length albums,
Take Us to the Start (2009) and This World Won’t Last Forever, But Tonight We Can
Pretend (2013), on F Stop/Atlantic.

As that label relationship ended, Hires and his wife of eight years decided to relocate
from Tampa, Florida, where they had both lived all their lives, for Nashville, home of both the U.S. country music production line and a burgeoning scene for independent songwriters and musicians. They arrived in the city the day after Christmas in 2014.

“I think that was a big part of the change in my music,” says Hires. “There’s something about moving to a new city, and experiencing new things that helped in opening up my songwriting to new levels of honesty.”

Hires quickly fell in with a group of like-minded indie musicians, and began exploring new avenues in his songcraft during informal living-room sessions with them.

He recalls, “We started doing this thing called ‘Scotch ‘n’ Songs.’ The average size of the group was five or six of us. We would get together every other week and share new stuff that we’d been working on, and share a bottle of scotch or bourbon. We’d talk about the songs. Pretty much all of this album was born out of that, partially out of necessity. A few weeks would roll by, and I’d say, ‘Oh, man, I need a song to bring to the group,’ so I would sit down and force myself to write. I’d say, ‘What do you want to write right now? If you could turn on your radio or your iPod right now, what would you want to hear?’”

The encouragement and feedback of the Scotch ‘n’ Songs crew moved Hires to set aside
some of his earlier notions about his craft.

“When I would write songs before,” he says, “I would have these things hanging over my
head – ‘What’s my A&R guy at the record label going to think? What are my parents going to think?’ I tried to shed all of that, and just write what I wanted to write. I remember talking to one of my friends in the songwriting group, and he said, ‘Write what
scares you.’ I took that idea and ran with it, and it made the record what it is.”

The material on American Wilderness drew its stylistic inspiration from old and new
strains of Americana and contemporaries whose work reflects Hires’ own engaging pop
sensibility.

“Influences of mine who have been favorites over the years are Bob Dylan, Tom Petty,
Wilco,” he says. “While I was writing the material for this album, I got way into Jason Isbell’s Southeastern. During the last year, I was listening to Brandon Flowers’ solo record The Desired Effect – I’m a big fan of The Killers. What I tried to do with this
record was create songs that were lyrically interesting with something to say while
remaining musically accessible, without being candy-coated.”

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