Check out the latest single from Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Matt Hannah. ‘Sidelines’ has an intimate, conversational feel, reinforced by Hannah’s weary, characterful voice, perfect for telling stories and secrets. Lyrically, he is exposed and vulnerable, sharing his innermost thoughts and revealing how he has always felt different, on the periphery. It’s a sentiment that many will recognise and Hannah is speaking for all those who feel isolated but don’t have a voice. The words are direct and all the more effective for this: “Back where I grew up // People are the same // They think they know your heart // If they know your name.” ‘Sidelines’ is gently rhythmic, built around a delicate strum and foot-tapping percussion, and it’s beautifully tuneful. However, the upbeat feel and melody mask this feeling of otherness and difference. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Patrick adds rich layers to the song, providing both texture and warmth.
Hannah says of the song: “‘Sidelines’ is about my journey from place to place, seeking some sense of belonging. When I was young, I felt like a city kid in the country, and moving to New York City, I felt like a country kid in the city. I came to realise it was just part of me, feeling outside of things, and I celebrate that in this song.”
Hannah’s third album, ‘House of Illusion’, is due out on 8th March and focuses on the theme of creating a safe space, a place of magic and illusion, within which you feel protected from the the outside world and its grim realities. That desire to keep a distance between oneself and reality – something we all want at times – is perfectly summed up in this single; by the end of the song, Hannah accepts that sense of otherness: “The further I travel, the more I find // I’ll always live on the sidelines.” Enjoy.