Matt York “Gently Used”

Independent, 2022

A gracefully simple albeit complex tale of what York describes as “second-tier love”

Artwork for Matt York album "Gently Used"New Englander, Matt York hopes that this record “could see him outgrowing his regional successes in favour of national headlining tours” and, who knows, with this band of mighty fine Nashville musicians giving life to York’s lyrics, it just might. With Joshua Hedley on fiddle, Dillon Warnek on piano, Tim Deenan on drums, guitars by Taylor Hollingsworth, and Spencer Cullum Jr on pedal steel, York’s timeless vocals are in musical heaven.
Throughout this album of universal but pretty heavy themes, York covers complex & somewhat private subjects with a country-rock vibe while clinging to his Americana roots.

If You Want Love‘ is a lively number with subtly blended yet featured instrumentation carrying an authentic 20s vibe. A toe-tapper, if ever there was one, this party song could even see the dance floor packed, be it with a Charleston, barn dance, line dance or all three.

‘Baby Doll‘ is a pacy, romantic ballad about doing time. Now, whilst it is never good to tell tales out of school, it does say somewhere that York does not make things up for the sake of a story “more often than not if it’s in a song, he’s lived it”. So, apart from adding that the electric guitar and pedal steel in this song work together beautifully, we will leave that one there. There is an awesome vibe in ‘Let’s Try Failure‘, and ‘Strong Feelings‘ has a timeless sound with some fabulous harmony vocals. There is a little scratchy guitar playing in that one, though, which can be a little irritating, but it seems a fairly common style, so enough said.

Rocky guitars and an infectious beat compliment York’s enviable vocal in ‘Without You‘. His gritty vocal is further showcased in the groovy ‘I Know You Love Me‘, which also features some fabulous guitar work. ‘The Perfect Crime‘ spotlights gloriously sublime fiddle playing whilst being one of several songs where York’s vocal is comparable to (the best of) Van Morrison.

However, saving the best to last, the title track, ‘Gently Used’, is a gracefully simple albeit complex tale of what York describes as “second-tier love”. It is simply beautiful with its generous sentiment and stunning guitar & piano duet.

Gently Used‘ could well be York’s breakthrough song. Let’s all watch this space.

8/10
8/10

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