SILK PURSES • A Divergent & Beautifully Recorded Musical Tapestry

Mix of Originals & Inventive Covers Results in a Stunning Release from Matt deHeus

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature,   By: Robert E Martin

25th August, 2018     0

With his second CD release Silk Purses, musician Matthew deHeus creates a divergent tapestry of material consisting of seven original tracks and five highly inventive cover songs that collectively possess both a purposeful musical vision and highly engaging musical arrangements that draw the listener into a semi-autobiographical mosaic of retrospective lyrical insight and red-hot musicianship.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Reed Recording Company in Bay City, Matt is well-known throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region not only as a gifted songwriter and musician with his group Catfood Sandwich; but also as a top-notch writer and contributor to Review Magazine, where he has covered topics ranging from local music to politics, economics, and urban redevelopment; and his diversity and breadth of knowledge and life experience  infuse each note that is played and song on this impressive sophomore release.

Recorded over a two-year timespan with an A-List of regional musicians including J Blum, Rick Gellise, Andy Reed, Scott Van Dell, Donny Brown, John Cashman, Jacob Wisenbach, Mike Roberton, Bingo Moon, Allison & Andy Scott, Michael George, Todd Miller and Peter Manuel, each of their instrumental contributions all serve to lushly layer a fitting backdrop to Matt’s topical material, which covers the gamut from resolution to retrospection, realization to acceptance, and despondency to salvation; which needless to say, is a lot of ground to cover.

The tone for Silk Purses is set by the three opening tracks, beginning with the song Never, which stakes its footprint with a steady and infectious musical hook, while Matt’s rich baritone vocal bares striking resemblance to Johnny Cash genetically spliced with the intonation of Iggy Pop, colored with Rick Gellise’s fully grounded guitar-work.

The next cut Bitter Rain sets a tone on opposite end of the musical spectrum and is a beautiful song inspired by a failed marriage proposal years ago, with Andy Reed and Scott Van Dell milking both veiled agony and disciplined transcendence out of each musical note.

You Spin Me Right ‘Round is a different take on the popular Dead or Alive tune, which Matt and Rick Gellise re-stage as a campy ballad, replete with skank-style guitar and also featuring Jacob Wisenbach on trumpet.

The following track, Fly, is another deftly written personal memoir reflecting upon Matt’s previous life when he lived in England as a Fortune 500 Executive for British Petroleum, only to walk away from his former corporate life in order to pursue his passion for music and writing.  “My daughter asked why I never wrote songs about myself, so I came up with this song,” reflects Matt. “This track was recorded the day Glen Campbell died and I was playing around with the idea of having a baritone guitar on it; so Andy Reed grabbed his bass and re-tuned it and played it as if it was a baritone guitar, which was a creative way to solve the problem.”

This is followed by an equally poignant translation of John Denver’s Poems, Prayers & Promises, which Matt explains is the result of two parallel projects that he explored at the same time. “Apart from recording my original material, another project that I started was something similar to Johnny Cash’s America recordings - where I would perform my own take on some classic American recordings,” he explains. “I had Mike Robertson in the studio for another song, so we recorded this one in one-take.  This song is reflective of the era I grew up in; plus, I’m kind of a bar room singer in terms of how I make money at it, so I don’t stick to one style.”

“It’s ironic, because when I was in Junior High School I tried out for choir; and the Director pulled everybody aside during the tryouts, and I was the only one that wasn’t allowed to stay in the choir. So now I’m asking myself how everybody else’s albums turned out from that choir.  I suppose the lesson here is, don’t discourage a kid, because you never know how that kid will turn out.”

With the remaining original tracks, Like A Song, Let the Song Speak, Se Makes a Song, and the haunting Last Train to Anywhere, de Heus deftly carves a pathway into the magical alchemy of music to speak to inner parts of ourselves that often remain dormant in our sub-concious, taking us along on his musical journey of self-discovery.

“Everybody has a different reference that they want to hear in more vocal abilities, “ confesses Matt, and it usually ranges from Johnny Cash to Jim Morrison to Josh Groban; and I’ll take any one of those compliments,” he smiles.

And rightly so.  With such a strong body of work, accompanied by such a stellar cast list of regional musicians, all captured with one of the best recording efforts Andy Reed has generated from his recording studio, I highly urge you to pick up a copy of Silk Purses and sample it for yourself.

You can pick it up at the usual outlets such as Amazon, Bandcamp, and Spotify for streaming; and Matt is also at Herter Music in Bay City five days a week; plus, the disc is available at all Catfood Sandwich gigs.

 

 

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