“The tone of the voice became the perfect excuse for my head to begin its symphony. Music that makes it possible for things that are dead and should be to drift back to dance again to songs full of lies and truths I wish were lies...”
Matt Urmy opens his truly magnificent americana cd “Sweet Lonesome” with these cinematically spoken lines. Truths you wish were lies… I don’t know about you, but with an opening like this you have my attention. “Too theatrical”, somebody shouts? Maybe, but Matt Urmy for once has the talent to grab a highly dramatic situation in a few words.
Let’s take the third song, for example, “The old photograph”, in which, by the way, you hear a stunning organ play that, without doubt, would get heavenly approval of Danny Federici (former organ player in the E-Steet Band).
“Do you know how it feels to need forgiveness” are the central words here. The torture, the search and the longing for alleviation: it strikes me as a listener. I takes me to an America that’s romanticised by me. To my “Darkness on the edge of town”. Where people of character, with all their shortcomings, painful memories and hope hang around in smokey bars long past their prime.
Urmy closes this brilliant song, in which we also hear the unsurpassed Jonell Mosser, with the lines:
“Her heart is dancing down in the darkness I believe I just learned what it means to be a witness Do you know how it feels to need forgiveness”.
There’s a lot of other beautiful stuff on “Sweet Lonesome”. With his low, dark voice Urmy lifts the crawling “Helpless fool” to a very high level:
“And I’ve been spending all my money Been spending so much time waiting on change I can’t count the cost of falling away from your grace...”
Sounds like pure poetry to me. The more so when lyrics like these go with music that touches me deep, as is the case here.
I’ll omit further enumeration, except for the title song “Sweet Lonesome”. Urmy sings a duet here with nobody less than Mary Gauthier and if you’re looking for two voices that blend wonderfully together, it must be these two. Probably because in both voices you here that darkness.In this excellent song rock influences, very frequent on “Sweet Lonesome”, abound. Listen the the lovely guitar and hammond play.
Matt Urmy released this cd, like some releases before, independantly and that’s, given the excellent quality, unbelievable and also a proper shame. I thought this cd was from 2010, but Matt emailed me the cd is officially released on February 22, 2011. Without exaggeration I proclaim this cd to one of my favorites of the year, thus far.
“She said I’m a hotel / Hotel for the demons / That’s why I’m open all night... / ... every night and every day...”
A few lines from the last (sung) title of the cd (She said I’m a hotel). Time to check out. However, think I’ll stay another night…