MUSIC in REVIEW • Matthew DeHeus - Mercy Me (5-Song EP)

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature,   From Issue 904   By: Robert E Martin

29th October, 2020     0

With his third CD release titled Mercy Me, singer/songwriter Matthew deHeus continues further down the road of his musical journey of creating a diverse collection of original material that refuses to be easily classified by genre, yet is equally purposeful and personal in terms of its lyrical and narrative tone, colored with highly engaging and accessible musical arrangements that pull the listener into the semi-autobiographical mosaic of his lyrical insight and tightly crafted musicianship.

Similar to his earlier releases, Silk Purses and Town & Country, Matt’s latest collection of originals was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Reed Recording Company, and showcases the deep vocal richness of Matt’s baritone voice, which has been compared to such artists as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Charlie Rich, adding both weight and luster to the lyrical topics of his new originals, which cover the range from realization and regret to resolution and acceptance.

Beginning with the mandolin intro on Let the Song Speak, a mandolin intro sets the tone on Matt’s newest release with a freewheeling & up-tempo musical ride into days of youth, when we assemble visions, make plans, and develop appetites for living that are often not easily satisfied; and when two people have nothing to say, they should just ‘let the song speak’.

The second track, Gray, ramps things down a notch with a more somber reflection about how fortunes can change, how faith is forged, and how we ‘chase rainbows for the truth and wait for the world to improve’.  Reflective and forthright, the song serves as a simple meditation upon the nature of duality that permeates our lives; and is summed up in the refrain when Matt sings:  ‘You ask what’s behind the color of the sky, I say gray’s just another side of blue’.

The tenor picks up again with the up-beat and melodically infectious, Baby, Baby, replete with a toe-tapping Motown-esque back-beat and an almost Springsteen-esque lyrical structure that could have been an outtake from the Boss’s  Born to Run.  The song stands out in terms of the way Matt is consciously exploring different styles in the way he renders his music and is accented with some tightly orchestrated horn arrangements as it swells into the chorus.

Bitter Rain carries on as a classically rendered ballad, driven by a solid backbeat and colored with slide guitar as Matt displays his story-telling skills to reflect upon lessons learned from a failed relationship, with Andy Reed and Scott VanDell milking both veiled agony and disciplined transcendence out of each musical note.

Hands down, however, the stand-out track on Mercy Me is the closing composition titled Gone.

Reflective without becoming melancholy, the song builds upon the memories of things we mean and intend to do in relationships, and how we come to moments where departure is the best route we can take in order to move forward.   Featuring a poignant harp solo by Rosco Selley, the rich dynamics and tight song construction make this track one of the finest new releases I’ve heard in 2020.

I highly urge you to pick up a copy of Mercy Me and add it to your musical collection. You can stream and download it at the usual outlets such as Amazon, Bandcamp, and Spotify; and Matt is also at Herter Music in Bay City five days a week if you’d like to obtain a physical CD. 



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