Debut album of acoustic gems from South Dakota builder and artist.
If you happen to live in Montrose, South Dakota, and you’ve had work done to your home, you’re likely to know a highly talented builder Matt Fockler, who specialises in dry-stack stone, mosaic tile and other artistic style building work. From this specialised artistic physical work, Fockler also happens to be a talented and highly respected singer songwriter, who single handedly also organises an annual music festival (Montrose Music Festival) with no stage and no schedule – rather arranging a group of great singers who just do their thing – music and art – creating collaboration and spontaneity.
Fockler’s songs have been covered by the likes of Anais Mitchell, Jonathan Byrd and Steep Canyon Rangers and until now he’s not received any radio play in America and or had any recordings.
He’s spent 30 years travelling around Missouri, Texas, Montana and South Dakota, working construction and remodelling jobs to pay their way. As they travelled, they wrote songs and sang them, often just for each other.
His music has profound, meaningful lyrics and his subjects range from the life of the local Lakota People, to lullabies and dreams. In fact dreams are really important to Fockler and he feels that dreams are important for the mind and soul.
With that in mind, the album opens with ‘Do You Dream’, initially just voice and acoustic guitar, but a distant fiddle comes in half way through. His voice initially quivers with a fascinating effect, before his full vocal style is captured. The song slowly builds in a lovely way with violins complementing the haunting feel. He’s asking whether our dreams come true and it’s a perfect theme to the laid back sound of the song.
Track two is ‘Like To Dance’ and the quivering vocals are given again here, together with some fine acoustic guitar work and some lovely additional female vocals.
Inevitably a mostly acoustic album does need a little variety and this comes in the form of love song ‘Lilly Marie’ – a band number celebrating his affection for the lovely sounding Lilly. It’s a brilliant song with some lovely electric guitar work and the album highlight, together with ‘Do You Dream‘.
Lullabies are featured in the delightful ‘Dorothy’ with some deft banjo adding to the soft and alluring feel of the song. Beautiful. The Lakota People are featured in a couple of songs, with ‘Lakota Sioux’ being particularly effective, telling their tragic story and their involvement with General Custer.
You can tell this is an album of songs that have been honed and cherished for over thirty years and it’s a strong and memorable debut for an artist well worth watching out for in the future.