Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Jennifer Matthews--“Sunroom Sessions” Release and @ The Tir na nOg with her Talent September 10th
By Chiemi http://www.chiemimusic.com
Yes --after tours of England, Southern California, Alaska and other accolades and exciting appearances, the beloved Jennifer Matthews is coming September 10th to a venue near you! She is honoring her Somerville fans as part of the News Poetry and Music Series. Indeed, she is well-known and accomplished in both of those arts.
Since Matthews moved to Boston in 1998, her solo career has brought her icon status. She is a rocker with a Suzanne Vega-like toned down side. Also, her lyrics, whether published in books or albums, ring with an unrelenting realness.
This past June, Matthews released “The Sunroom Sessions” (Thundamoon Records 2006), her self-produced solo follow-up to last year’s “The Wheel.” It was recorded by Jerry Bates at Sunroom Studio in Norton, Mass., with Matthews on vocals, piano, baritone guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin. Part of Matthew’s style is defined by her signature baritone electric guitar, with which she creates her own special funk and jazz. She also tunes in on her blue Martin.
“[J]ove” (no.1), begins the “Session” with virtual discordance artfully cast by Matthews as a chopping river of guitar over which her serene voice floats like a still sky. The last lines, “lost under the stars again” aptly describe where I am left at the close of this song. The layers of Matthews’s soft singing with Bates’s backing vocals and the underlying light thrumming instrumentation in “1000 miles” (no.2), enfold the listener in a marvelous, textured tapestry comprised of few choice strains of subtly colored feathers laid over one another. “[W]rote u a song” (no. 3) has a self-described catchy rhythm “to increase your heartbeat” coupled with folksy lyrics, while “gospel of love” (no. 4) and “revelation” (no. 7) soothe. “[F]loating” (no. 5) is ethereal and spooky, with a Middle Eastern flair, as Matthews describes longing, waiting and dreaming. The intricate slurs, crafted chords, grace notes and intense cries at the apex of “[D]ogs at the door” (no. 6) demonstrate Matthews’s vocal diversity and musical ingenuity. “[C]onfess” (no. 8), “them bones” (no. 9), “little sister” (no. 10), “[L]emon peels & tangerines” (no. 11) and “sweet as rain” (no. 12) are sighing lullabies. Matthew’s begins “trees in december” (no. 13) with haunting plucked tones and distributes thought-provoking phrases throughout, such as “there’s a wheelbarrow sitting with its heart wide open.” “[W]estern skyline” (no. 14) and “if I ever” (no. 15) gently round out this intimate and sometimes sweetly evanescent experience.
Matthews studied music at the University of Colorado in Boulder and at Denver's School of Music. She began her career as a solo artist while in Colorado, performing in local venues there. This experience led to several awards from the Rocky Mountain Music Association. She then toured Japan, Korea and Hawaii for three months and relocated to New York. "Beautiful Mud," the five-piece band Matthews started, separated after their well-received debut release and performing for several years in New York City.
In 2003, Matthews was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of poetry released under Somerville's Ibbetson Street Press, Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors.
May of 2005 brought the release of "The Wheel" (Thundamoon Records )--recorded and mixed at Windham Studios in Vermont. Matthews and producer/engineer Brian Brown took the 13 song record to new levels by adding some electronica and loops to her roots rock sound. "The Wheel" reveals the mystic in Matthews and showcases her guitar talent.
The rest has been Matthews in continuous motion, including a publishing deal with ACM Records, Inc. For more on Matthews check out:
Jennifer will be reading from her poetry Sept 12 2006 7PM at the Newton Free Library, along with Mark Pawlak, and Ifeanyi Menkiti.