Austin-based singer/songwriter/producer Matt Smith has been very busy. Back in September, he released eight albums (2-studio, 2-live & 4-compilations) that covers his entire three-plus decade career. The flagship album of this set of releases is his new eight-song studio album "Being Human." This album has been four years in the making and includes some of Matt's most intimate songs, beginning with the bluesy feel of "Sanctuary." The emotional lyrics of the title-song "Being Human" are lifted by the gospel like backing vocals of Ange Kogutz, while "Everybody Wanna Do The Don't" is filled with R&B vibes. Next, Matt moves on to showcase his rock edginess with the punk like delivery of "I Got The Girl," before wrapping up one of his new album with the alternative rock of "Down In The Hole" and the gentle touch of the loving ballad "I'd Do Anything For You."
His other new studio release is a solo acoustic instrumental album ("Parlor") that was inspired by the guitar that Matt's great-grandfather bought back in the 1890s. This new twelve song album is a wonderful addition to Matt's ever-growing catalog. You can almost feel the passion that he puts into each of these short instrumentals, like the finger-picking of "First Love" or the gentle melody of "Daydreams." The highlight of this set of instrumentals, is Matt's version of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush." No words are needed in order for Matt to portray his appreciation to Neil and to his great-grandfather for purchasing this guitar so many years ago. Matt really works his fingers up and down the fret board during "Traveling Man," before finishing with the jazzy flow of "Isla Mujeres" and "That's All Folks!."
Matt Smith also released two new live albums, one is titled "Chop Shop - Live At Strange Brew" and the other is "Live At The Saxon Pub." The Strange Brew is a legendary local venue located in the south of Austin in which Matt's musical trio, Chop Shop, called their home every Sunday afternoon during their residency. One such example of their show was recorded for this ten song release, and begins with Matt showcasing his chops on the electric guitar during the opening of "Tough Guy/Tsurfin The Tsunami." The trio dive deep into the blues with "Shelter From The Storm" (not to be confused with Bob Dylan's version), before turning Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With" into a ten-minute blues jam. The energy picks back up with another exciting, electrifying guitar workout from Matt Smith on "Too Much/Smell My Mandolin." The show wraps up with a slow-down, bluesd-up version of James Brown's "I Feel Good" and the jazz groove of "Blues Walk."
The other concert release "Live At The Saxon Pub" finds Matt Smith teaming up with fellow Austin musicians during their weekly residency at this other iconic Austin venue. This set features nine tracks that throw off a different vibe than his other live album, beginning with the full band involvement of "Struggle On." Not only does Matt get a few licks in on the guitar, but percussionist Aaron Luck gives you a steel pan solo, as well as Joe Morales on the sax. The band lock into the funky rhythm of "Walk The Talk," then take you out to the islands with the Latin sway of "Dance With Me." The only song that appears on both live albums is Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With," which has more energy on this version, with a full backing band just waiting for their moment to shine. Matt Smith's World band finish this live recording with the blues of "What Will I Do Without You" and the upbeat jazz romp of "Hot Club Of Brooklyn."
To round out Matt Smith's eight new albums, is four-disc sampler of his solo/band albums dating back to 1988. The set moves along in chronological order, with the first disc covering Smith's output from 1988-1994 when he was located in Upstate New York, before moving on to New York City. His NYC period covers the second disc, which also includes some of his work with his trio, Chop Shop. Volume 3 finds Matt on his move to Austin, with some cover songs included in this set, along with his first release of his band, "Matt Smith's World," which would reappear on the "Live At The Saxon Pub" album. The set finishes with his most recent output between 2011-2020, which includes highlights from three of new albums he recently releases as part of this huge eight-disc series. All of the music in this set has also been remaster at Matt Smith's 6-String Ranch. To find out more about all this new, and previously released music that Matt has made available, please visit 6stringranch.com.