Matt Waldon ”Grow Up” (Independent, 2017)

In many ways beginning a record with an instrumental track is a big risk in the days of instant gratification and snap judgements on an artist. However, if you have stumbled across Matt’s music you are likely not to be the kind of listener who is so fickle, since Waldon’s craft is not of sexy radio singles, but of heavy-hitting music bordering on Rock. 7 Beers is our first taste of him as a vocalist, and with a driving electric guitar and drum rhythm, his grungy, gravely vocals match the style very well, much like Steve Earle can on some of his rockier tracks. Similarly, 14 Rooms has a rock vibe, albeit with a more melodic guitar backing and slightly softer vocals.

Save Me is the first time we see more of a stripped-back performance, with a touch of fiddle and acoustic guitar dominating the backing. The vocals are still more Nirvana than Sturgill, but as a style of Americana the gritty nature of the music adds a weight, and when the distortion of the electric guitar comes in for the chorus the effect is quite potent.

For an Italian songwriter, the record is very accomplished lyrically and certainly provides a twist on the classic folk stylings. Whilst the record is interesting, it is quite hard work but worth persevering with if you like your vocals heavy and a bit of rock ‘n roll in your folk.

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