Cultural note: If you’re not from Orlando, you may not be familiar with Matt Butcher. He was formerly the lead singer of local legends The Heathens, a country-tinged indie rock act. This month he released his first solo LP, Me and My Friends.
Matt Butcher will break your heart. No, ladies, I’m not talking about when he leaves you the morning after on account of his wanderin’ ways. Hell, I’m not even talking about when he walks out on your favorite local band (remember the Heathens?). No, I’m talking about the haunting melodies, the sparse, bittersweet arrangements and sadistically sad lyrics on his first solo album, Me And My Friends.
You see, under his disheveled indie hipster disguise, Matt Butcher is secretly more a desciple of Nashville than New York City. Of course, instead of just slapping instruments and arrangements that “sound kind of folky” onto his indie-rock songs, Matt has always understood the subtler elements that really define genuine country music. On The Heathens’ LP, Big White House, Matt tackled the corny punchline chorus with “Two Chimneys,” a song about how Santa would have two chimneys to visit after the narrator’s parents’ divorce. On his solo album, Matt takes on another country cliche: gut-wrenching sadness. Much like how rappers frequently try to out-swagger each other, it sometimes seems that the game in country music is to see who can write the most miserably depressing piece of music conceivable (the winner gets a beer, presumably). Featuring lines like “I came into this world crying, and not much has changed, you’re just giving me someone to blame. You’re just giving my sadness a name,” and “You ain’t got eyes no more, just two pools of sorrow,” and, in this reviewer’s opinion, the worst offender: “when your granddad cries, it’s the saddest thing you’ve seen,” I’d say Matt’s songs offer some stiff competition.
Yes, Orlando’s troubador is back in top form, and although you might need to pop some anti-depressants after listening, you won’t regret it.
Matt Butcher’s Myspace
Video: Matt Butcher – Giving My Sadness A Name
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