Matt North has made the rounds as both a drummer and a standup comedian. While he has backed artists like Maria McKee and Peter Case, he is now releasing an album in which he was the chief songwriter and guitarist backed by a band of Nashville stars who have played with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Sturgill Simpson, and Steve Earle among others.
The album begins with "A Good Day in Nashville". He gives a little taste of what it's like to live in the city when he sings, "I got a plumber, and a roofer, and an electrician. Every single one used to be a musician." Aside from that, the storytelling in this song is like a slice of life that you might expect from John Mellencamp or John Hiatt. The melody has a little taste of Nashville in the piano, but is mostly rock with a healthy dose of organ that accents the song nicely.
A good example of North's storytelling ability is "Murder Shows". The story is that of a couple that has drifted apart with one of the differences being that the wife now sits around watching murder shows and drinking. The vocals are similar to Reed Turchi while the overall feel of the song is what might happen if Tom Waits collaborated with Drive-By Truckers.
"Come Here Go Away" is a catchy rock song that turns up the tempo and volume compared to other songs on the album. This song will make you pump your fist and sing along when North and the backing vocalists sing the title of the song. This song is so energetic that it feels more like a live recording than a studio recording.
North has a way of writing songs that seem like stories you might hear from friends or someone you meet at a bar. His songs are immediately familiar. They could easily fit in on classic-rock stations across the country. In addition, they are also the kind of songs you want to listen to repeatedly. Above Ground Fools (Round Badge Records) will be available everywhere on Feb. 21.