For those of us who were fortunate enough to know him, please take a moment to reflect on a life lived or, in Matthew’s words “a life played for keeps”. The last time I checked his YouTube channel had 22 subscribers. Take a moment and visit him there, he’s there
Maybe Matthew didn’t have tens of thousands of adoring fans but he was a rock star nonetheless, the real deal, the only one I’ve ever known personally and every time I was lucky enough to see him play I told him so.
It is my understanding that there are no services scheduled at this time however here is a place where you can pay your respects and share your memories of Matthew
Thank you Matthew for everything you gave of yourself, the world is a better place for having you in it.
With his dreamy rock star good looks, angelic voice and gunslinger guitar chops 27-year-old British singing sensation James Bay lies somewhere between Rick Springfield and Jeff Buckley, perhaps more “Jessie’s Girl” than “Last Goodbye”. Electric Light, the follow up to his 2015 chart topping #1 award winning double platinum debut album, should do much to solidify his standing as one of England’s top rising new stars with its tantalizing mix of edgy modern-day R&B flavored pop rock and affectations of ‘70s street style sexy. Bay teases his way through much of this big commercial pop record utilizing quick flourishes of sneak guitar swagger and that unstoppable golden voice of his. A unique mixture of rock n roll posturing and sensibility blended with all the earmarks of modern pop, Bay’s Electric Light, when not mired down in one of the albums all too many tedious mid-tempo ballads, subtly evokes the slightest whiff of sleazy glam from its original golden era. Channeling his heroes, Bay oozes sexy, sway and cocksure confidence throughout.
Star Rating: 3.25/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 21/52
In these days of nonstop in-your-face social outrage, twitter wars and bombast there’s something to be said for quiet and unassuming. That’s exactly how Washington State’s The Moondoggies have been going about things for the better part of a decade now and, if the dark textless cover art for their latest LP A Love Sleeps Deep of a small child digging through a crate of Christmas lights is any indication, it’s business as usual. Their fourth album in ten years A Love Sleeps Deep is miles apart from the band’s earliest incarnation as a teenage high school punk band. Clocking in at just over 44 minutes with an economical 4 tracks per side A Love Sleeps Deep showcases The Moondoggies many subtle talents, from warm taut vocal harmonies to the smooth melodic lines of keyboardist Caleb Quick and pedal steel guitar player Jon Pontrello. Throughout, A Love Sleeps Deep exhibits a certain earthy organic quality akin to early Crazy Horse and the post-psych country rock of the Grateful Dead. Hinting at vintage Harry Nilsson, the piano based balladry of “Promises” helps wind out the record alongside the epic eight-and-a-half-minute album closer “Underground (A Love Sleeps Deep)”, the quieter moments of which are reminiscent of The Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 Neil Young penned “Broken Arrow”. Absolute Americana, a kinder gentler Drive-By Truckers without the Southern Gothic.
Star Rating: 3.5/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 20/52
During the past decade Sheffield England’s Arctic Monkeys have firmly established themselves as one of Britain’s most successful bands. Winners of seven Brit Awards including three for Best Album and three for Best Group, they are also recipients of the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize for their 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history. All six of their albums entered the UK music charts in the number one position including their most recent Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino which also has the distinction of being the UK’s fastest selling vinyl record of the last 25 years. But is it any good? In a word, yes. Very. After a five-year hiatus, due in part to a lengthy stretch of writer’s block suffered by lead singer Alex Turner, the band has re-emerged much changed from its former self. Gone is the guitar centric post-punk revival indie garage rock of the past surprisingly usurped by none other than the smooth sophistication of a Steinway Vertegrand (aka upright) piano. A gift on the occasion of his 30th birthday, Turner began plucking away at the instrument in a spare room of his Los Angeles home seeking inspiration in the works of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, distant childhood memories and obsessing over high concept science fiction. The end result lies somewhere between Prince’s brilliant 2014 sci-fi opus Art Official Age and last year’s delightfully highbrow Chateau Marmont-themed Room 29 collaboration between Jarvis Cocker and pianist Chilly Gonzales on the world renowned Deutsche Grammophon classical music label. From the opening track Turner & Co do their best Brian Wilson inspired wall-of-sound Pet Sounds slam right down to the last vibraphone hit and Farfisa swirl. Turner, channeling his inner Ziggy Stardust, adopts the role of narrator for some serious glam blam thank you ma’am throughout much of the 41 minutes of futuristic escapism spinning through Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’s densely lyrical 11 tracks. No matter how unlikely it once seemed that Arctic Monkeys would one day become purveyors of an arty post-millennial concept album it is still nonetheless most refreshing to see such a firmly established act reaching well beyond the limitations of their own proven formula for success. With Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino Arctic Monkeys boldly forge ahead taking chances outside their comfort zone to try something different. Shouldn’t we all? Truly inspiring. Truly inspired.
Star Rating: 4/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 19/52
In 1962 a short haired, clean shaven 29-year-old songwriter by the name of Willie Nelson appeared on the cover of his very first record …And Then I Wrote wearing a dress shirt, suit jacket and tie, the album’s title alluding to the number of hit songs the young talented twentysomething had already penned for Country music stars Faron Young, Ray Price and Patsy Cline. In the 55 years since the ever prolific red headed stranger has not only substantially altered his image, he has amassed an unprecedented number of studio albums to his credit, over 100 in fact, when factoring in albums Nelson recorded himself or as part of a collaborating duo, trio or group. When tabulated accordingly this makes Nelson’s aptly titled latest release Last Man Standing his 101st album to date (take THAT Rob Pollard!). What’s even more amazing is how surprisingly spry the timeless 85-year-old Nelson sounds throughout. From start to finish this record swings with upbeat outlaw Country beats, its core sound indebted to the talents Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Jim “Moose” Brown on B3 organ and all three lap steel players Bobby Terry, Mike Johnson and Tommy White. Throughout Nelson, with the help of his 70-year-old song writing partner Buddy Cannon (who also produced the album) takes an unexpectedly upbeat approach when confronting loss and mortality, themes expected from a man of his advanced years, while joyously espousing the many benefits of growing old, most importantly not being dead. After outliving fellow Sun Records recording artists Charlie Rich and Roy Orbison, the last surviving member of the Million Dollar Quartet (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley) “Killer” Jerry Lee Lewis brazenly announced at the age of 71 through the title of his 2006 “comeback” album that he was indeed the Last Man Standing. 12 years later the 85-year-old Nelson (two years older than Jerry Lee) begs to differ. And with the passing of Chuck Berry last year at age 90 this could very well be the beginning of one downright colossal octogenarian battle between two titans of popular song fighting it out to the last breath for the title. According to Willie, “I don’t want to be the last man standing, on second thought, maybe I do”.
Star Rating: 3.5/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 18/52
In a flagrant attempt at beating the ever prolific King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard at their own game, legendary seventysomething Van Morrison upped the ante recently by releasing his third album of new material in just seven months (Roll With The Punches September 2017, Versatile December 2017, You’re Driving Me Crazy April 2018). Australia’s psychedelic kingpins KGATLW took all of 12 months to release just five in 2017 so you be the judge. And with all due respect to Neil Young’s seemingly endless flow of New Releases, both new and archival, the casual listener can be forgiven for not giving a flying pluck of an upright bass that Van Morrison has a new record out. Much of this hurried trilogy focuses on selections from the Great American Songbook; Jazz, Blues, R&B standards and reworked numbers from Morrison’s vast back catalogue. The latest installment You’re Driving Me Crazy captures Morrison partnering with 47-year-old virtuoso trumpet player and Hammond B3 wizard Joey DeFrancesco. Accompanied by DeFrancesco’s crew of top notch jazz sideman, You’re Driving Me Crazy was recorded over a period of just two days in Sausalito, California. Consequently, much of the record comes across sounding like an impromptu live album recorded without the presence of an audience, like a weekend bill in the Catskills where nobody shows up. Recorded live off the floor in a limited number of takes these 15 tracks flow seamlessly through the albums bulging 71 minutes of material. Anyone who has ever been witness to Morrison’s penchant for loosey-goosey freefall vocal improv (e.g. The Last Waltz or his infamous Sinead O’Connor duet on Letterman) will not at all be surprised by much of his singing on this record. And just as surely as there are infinite examples of genius in music rubbing shoulders with madness so too can there be parallels drawn between indulgence and brilliance, especially in terms of Van Morrison’s decades old of love affair with jazz.
Star Rating: 2.75/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 17/52
Between 1971 and 1991 legendary Grammy Award winning songwriter John Prine crafted an impressive body of work consisting of 10 exceptional studio albums. His debut, the self-titled John Prine album, has few equals. Not even Bob Dylan himself can lay claim to such an auspicious beginning. Released when he was just 25 years old the John Prine album alone contains at least a half dozen examples of some of the centuries most poignant and bittersweet contributions to the great American songbook (Illegal Smile, Hello In There, Sam Stone, Paradise, Donald And Lydia, Angel From Montgomery). Unbelievably, two decades later, after a 5 year break between albums Prine, the Cole Porter of Americana country roots folk music, equaled the first in every way with his triumphant return The Missing Years in 1991. His output slowed considerably in the years that followed with only two albums of original material to his credit in the ensuing 14 years (Lost Dogs And Mixed Blessings in 1995 and Fair & Square a decade later in 2005). His latest, The Tree Of Forgiveness, is his first album of original material in 13 years. A ragged old soldier of song, the native of Chicago’s suburbs has survived not one but two bouts of cancer in the last 20 years. Sadly, his most recent battle with lung cancer in 2013 has left his singing voice greatly diminished resulting in Prine sounding like a shell of his former self throughout The Tree Of Forgiveness. Much of Prine’s latest dalliance covers old familiar ground populated by the usual oddball characters and range of topics that have come to be closely associated with his work over the years. Only his third album of original material in 26 years, die hard fans hungry for new material will no doubt eagerly lap up every last drop. First time listeners however would be better served focusing their attention where Prine’s lasting legacy ultimately lies, at the peak of his powers from 1971 through to the early years of the new century; prime Prine.
Star Rating: 3/5
2018 Song Of The Day Club Album Review 16/52