Michael Mattice – Comin’ Home (Independent)
Michael Mattice’s early musical interests were classical and jazz. He began his musical journey aged eight, studying flute and piano, before joining various youth orchestras and jazz bands - eventually graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Outside of school and college he played in local bands, co-founding the progressive-metal band Yantra and finding plentiful work as a professional session guitarist.
“Comin’ Home” is Mattice’s debut collection, and it’s a beautifully evocative mix of ‘70s Americana and old blues with a contemporary alternative vibe, which embraces a post-grunge slacker groove and soul-baring, anti-folk lyricism. His musicianship is exemplary throughout; not showy or overcooked, but simply effective and appropriate to both his songs and the moods they set.
Highlights come thick and fast. Opener “Back to You” arrives on perfectly formed acoustic guitars with Mattice’s voice ringing out true and clear. “Windowpane” is the single and its gentle tone and heartfelt words deserve a little radio play. “The Price” taps into the Nick Drake / John Martyn tradition, and on “Train Hoppin'” he usurps a pack of Robert Johnson’s hellhounds, and compresses the mix in what sounds like pre-war shellac.
The upbeat “Lonesome Man” brings to mind the Pentangle guitarists Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and on “Led to Gold” its different names like Lou Barlow and even Pavement that register. Throughout the album Mattice’s musical vision remains focused and intact. He’s a distinctive vocalist and a writer with plenty to say, and I hope we don’t have to wait to long to hear more.