MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ – Tickets – The Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC – May 8th, 2018

MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ

MaxxMusic & The Evening Muse Present

MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ

T. Hardy Morris

Tue, May 8, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Evening Muse

Charlotte, NC

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is all ages

MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ
MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ
Matthew Logan Vasquez is feeling optimistic.

That’s not necessarily apparent the first time you spin his new full-length solo album. Each track on Matthew Logan Does What He Wants feels urgent and intense. Impatient landlords, financial woes and other frustrations fan the agitation embedded in the opening track, “Same.” Isolation darkens the brooding images of “From Behind The Glass.” Death takes a bow on “The Fighter.” Vasquez can’t help but juxtapose the celebration of “Fatherhood” with a lament that “we ain’t got the money to pay the hospital.” The music enhances this impression. As fans of his work with Delta Spirit and Middle Brother know well, Vasquez knows how to fuse passion and poetry in his writing and then ignite this volatile mix with extraordinarily expressive singing. In this sense he stands as a peer and a worthy successor to those who influenced him as an up-and-coming artist — Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and others often mentioned, none of them known for their upbeat, sunny lyrics. With the 2016 release Solicitor Returns. “That last record had a sarcastic, darker tone. The new one is just as hard-hitting and wide-ranging but with a more positive message.” This becomes clearer when you replay Does What He Wants and listen more carefully. On the surface, “Tall Man” unfolds as a journey into self-destruction. But at the end, the subject of the story is repeating “I know I can change,” each time with escalating emotion as brought to life in Vasquez’s searing vocal. “Bad things happen in the song,” he acknowledges. “But it all leads to an epiphany. And that is positive. The truth rarely comes to you in an easy way — not unless you’re a wiser person than I am. “My point is that life is a struggle,” Vasquez continues. “But how can you have optimism and hope if you don’t have something negative? Context is what makes it meaningful.” For Vasquez, context involves drawing from dramatically different settings. Growing up in Texas and along the California coast, hunkering down for years in Brooklyn as he finessed his music in a more pressurized urban context and then heading back to Austin to put all the pieces together, he took note of the differences and similarities these places offered. During much of that time he channeled his experiences into Delta Spirit, whose albums inspired critics to laud the band as “restless and defiant” (Paste), its music infused by “waves of measured ferocity” (Uncut) and “significant depth” (Austin Chronicle). Vasquez was actually in the process of writing for a projected upcoming Delta Spirit project early last year when he began to think that it might be more appropriate to focus instead on his next solo effort. “I was imagining a new Delta Spirit album as I was writing,” he says. “But I began to realize that’s not exactly where I’m at right now. The band isn’t broken up but it’s not coming back right now. I started to feel like Rhett Miller, who had to go away from the Old 97s for a while so he could get tap into his creativity and come back to the band in a new and healthy way.” To keep his path clear and work on his own terms, Vasquez built a studio in his home for this past year — a trailer parked about an hour west of Austin. Here, in Texas Hill Country, surrounded by evergreen oak trees, he wrote and recorded basic tracks and then brought in singer Kam Franklin from The Suffers and Shakey Graves drummer Christopher Booshada to add parts as needed. For backup vocals and string parts, he worked long-distance via sound files with the Parkington Sisters, who he performed with during a Middle Brother set at last year’s Newport Folk Festival. “They performed a miracle, giving me a 3-D depth that makes the tracks they appear on jump out of the speakers,” he insists. In final form, Does What He Wants is like a hall of mirrors, each capturing a different image of one self-aware and restlessly creative individual. The pure finger-picked acoustic guitar that sets up vivid stories on “The Informant” and “Tall Man,” the retro textures of “Headed West” (which, Vasquez points out, were actually played on real strings by the Parkingtons), the lofting melody that evokes Roy Orbison (“the greatest singer in the history of singers,” Vasquez opines), the waterfall of harmonies in “The Fighter” — This music is diverse yet unified, which of course was a priority for its author. And, in the end, it turns out to feel pretty optimistic after all — a perfect statement for these times and possibly for some time to come.
T. Hardy Morris
T. Hardy Morris
T. HARDY MORRIS
Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop
Album Notes By Patterson Hood, April 2015

“Love is a language with no subtitles"

Like ideas, the best songs are the simple ones. And like most simple ideas, they’re usually far more complex upon further examination than they seem at first.

So many young songwriters start off looking for the most complex way possible to examine a simple truth. Perhaps to seem smarter, or more “mature”. The better songwriters learn - hopefully before too much embarrassment - that the complex thought simply put is the key to a great song. Distilling that subtle truth down to its very essence and expressing it in a way that cuts through the bullshit and takes the listener by the heart into the depths of the intended emotion.

“I ain’t never giving back the things I took”

I caught the line on about my third listen, busy as I was doing things around the house while the new album played loud in the next room. I’ve known Hardy a while. His long running band Dead Confederate played some of their earliest shows opening for Drive-By Truckers several years ago. I always liked them but probably didn’t delve deep enough into what they were doing to listen closely to the songs. That all changed when Hardy was about to release his debut solo album (2013’s fantastic Audition Tapes) and I saw him play a couple of times around Athens. I was immediately blown away. Every time I’d see or hear him, I’d hear something new. Great songs keep getting better the more you listen to them.

“I ain’t never taking back the things I said”

Which leads us to the new one, Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop. If Hardy’s solo debut was a high and lonesome mellow-roast with musical touchstones like Harvest-era Neil Young and driving down a windy back road alone, the new one blasts out of the garage like some high-octane muscle car full of friends, blasting Mott The Hoople on the way to the last-call dive bar. It has it’s very own sound, but hits me in the same places as my favorite Replacements albums - stripped down and raw, yet sonically thrilling.

“Tell me how you like it, I’ll fix you up
Don’t you know home has cleaner cups”

The music is propelled by The Hardknocks. Vaughan Lamb and Nick Sterchi are a rock solid rhythm section, pushing it forward while never over-playing or detracting. That rare thing known as A songwriter’s rhythm section. Serious praise has to go to Hardy’s long time pedal steel player. Matt “Pistol” Stoessel, a veteran of Athens GA’s incredible music scene for many years. Pistol really shines in this band, providing both a melodic counter-point to Hardy’s formidable melodies and serving as the glue that holds all the elements together. The album all manages to be stripped down and raw yet sonically thrilling.

"Cuz I’m leaving now and coming back never
You can’t kill time without hurting forever
Cuz no one knows when I’m around
but it gets quieter when I leave town”

All of which leads me back to where I started, the wonderful last song on the album where the beat drops down to a slow waltz and the pedal steel swirls and the leading man sings…

“Just like the movies our eyes met
and just like the movies by the end they were wet
Just like in the movies I can’t catch each word
but love is a language with no subtitles”
Venue Information:
The Evening Muse
3227 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC
http://www.eveningmuse.com/