Matt Dunbar – heard the name? No? You will soon.
The new artists out of Northumberland releases debut EP on the 18th March and we’re so excited to tell everyone how good it is. Taking influence from various genres such as Americana and folk, he has gone on to develop his own style and has received strong praise for his powerful voice and meaningful Lyricism. This Saturday he will launch “Home” in Northumberland and the record has already reached #1 on the Amazon Digital Folk Albums chart. Here’s the lowdown!
It is easy to see early on why Matt has been likened to the likes of Ryan Adams; first track “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is a very personal track that reflects his time at University at the greatest city on earth (may be slightly biased). The track reminds me of early Frank Turner tracks where he pretty much put his life in each song like a story. Discussing his poor cooking skills, his aversion to an alcoholic beverage and his love for his guitar, the track is a lyrically beautiful song that doesn’t try too hard.
Matt’s ability to send me to a happy place kicks in right at the start of track two – there is a backing sound of children playing in a playground that is perfectly mixed with the reminiscent lyrics Matt performs. In the “Moment in Time” I first heard the song, it certainly brought me many memories as I got lost in the music. By the end of track two, if you haven’t had at least one “moment” whatever that means to you, just stop listening. If there was to be a complaint is that the EP is very one dimensional with an acoustic guitar and the odd bit of tracking – but for me, I don’t care. I love the way Matt writes, the way Matt plays and the way he sings.
Tracks 3 and 4 remind me of sitting in a pub, with a bit of acoustic music on; nobody fully pays attention in the moment, but the day after they think “bloody hell that guy was good last night wasn’t he”. Being honest, the tracks don’t stick with me as well as the other four on the EP when listening, but the few times I’ve spoken to somebody about Matt Dunbar, it’s “Here Comes the Brave” that is the easiest to recall. Whether it’s because it reminds me more of some of my favourite artists James Veck-Gilodi being one I don’t know but they do stick with me after listening.
“Miner’s Day” slows things down a little and adds a pretty violin track. Matt’s folk side really comes out on track five and wouldn’t sound out of place at a Patch and the Giant or even early Mumford and Sons show. Probably the least inspiring track on the album from a musical point of view – I feel the extra bits take away from who Matt Dunbar is, a great guitarist and an even better lyricist. I find myself listening to the music more than the lyrics on this track, which for many isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not taking anything away from the track, it’s just a personal observation.
The last track “Home” is the EP highlight. Without doubt. Compared to the previous track, the additional layers in “Home” definitely don’t detract from the acoustic and the vocal. For a second or two I forget that I’m listening to somebody releasing their debut, it’s so, so accomplished. If I can offer one tip; have a few beers, put this track on, close your eyes and I promise you’ll experience something beautiful. It’s five minutes of sheer brilliance; no it doesn’t set the world alight, no it won’t fill festival tents any time soon. What it does is capture one’s imagination, makes you feel something and that’s much more difficult and much more powerful.
Matt Dunbar. I congratulate you sir, “Home” is a masterpiece.
17/03/17 – The Tavern in Blyth (Supporting Mark Morriss from The Bluetones)
18/03/17 – EP Launch @ The Arts Hub in Ashington
28/03/17 – The Coach House in Morpeth (Supporting Beth McCarthy)
29/03/17 – Creative Base in Gateshead
30/03/17 – Bar Loco in Newcastle
04/04/17 – The Surf Cafe in Tynemouth
13/05/16 – Tynemouth Food Festival
03/06/17 – The Hangar Festival in Blyth