Scrimshaw

Scrimshaw = the art of decorating or carving shells, ivory, etc. done by sailors as a leisure activity.
Check YouTube for the videos of the recording sessions.

The album is an all instrumental banjo collection of original compositions by Matt (2012-2016).
He’s using several old time banjo techniques with a twist.

Some he picked up from Adam Hurt, some from Clifton Hicks, a few were dug up from the old-timers and some he stumbled on himself.
Some are more finger style, some straightforward clawhammer and with some songs he’s just bang it like there’s no tomorrow.
Harmonically he’s always been influenced by guitar players like Harry Sacksioni, Kelly Joe Phelps, Leo Kottke and James Taylor.
Listening to great contemporary banjo players like Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole has also left a mark on his compositions.

It features 14 songs played on a Vegaphone banjo, a Kevin Enoch Dobson model banjo and a banjo by The Ozark Banjo Co.
Recorded at Kid Me Studios (Haarlem) in 2016.
Mixed and Mastered by BJ Baartmans at Studio Wild Verband.
Released in January 2017.

Vegaphone Banjo tuned: gCGCD
Vegaphone Banjo tuned gCGCD.
Lukas Pool Banjo tuned fGDCD.
Vegaphone Banjo.
Tuning aEACE = g D G Bb D with capo on 2.
Vagaphone Banjo tuned gDGCD.
Vegaphone Banjo.
Tuning aEABE = gDGAD with capo on 2.
Lukas Pool Banjo.
Tuning g# EBEE = g# CGCC with capo on 4 (pedal 5th string is not capoed up).
Vegaphone Banjo.
Tuning aDADE (gCGCD capo 2).
Vegaphone Banjo, tuning gCGCC.
Vegaphone Banjo, tuning fDGAD.
Lukas Pool Banjo, tuning gCGCD.
Kevin Enoch Dobson Banjo, tuning gCGCEb.
Vegaphone Banjo, tuning gCGCD.
Lukas Pool Banjo, tuning gCGCE.

LayOut-Southern-Solace-300-310

Southern Solace

13 original songs, featuring Matt on Appalachian Style Banjo, Guitar and Vocals.
Excellent support by Jaap Pronk (guitar & vocals) on 4 songs.
Recorded live without dubs!
Check YouTube for the videos of the recording sessions.

The album is a combination of instrumental banjo songs and new singer songwriter material covering a range of subjects and emotions.
Subtle and thick layered lyrics, sung with intricate harmonies.

Recorded at Kid Me Studios (Haarlem) in 2013.
Mixed and Mastered by Erik Van Doorne at Masters of Media (2015).

Kevin Enoch Banjo tuned: gCGCEb
We’s called slack jawed yokels
Cause we likes to roast a skunk
I reckon I could mess you up
But I’m just fixin to get drunk

We’s got ´57 chevvy’s
With curtains in the back
A gun rack and an 8-track
Playing Skynnard, Hank and Cash

We get our vitamins from Denny´s
Like our gravy plenty
Drink moonshine whiskey,
drano and green beer
We don´t take kindly to strangers here

We get hitched right out of highschool
No lifeguard at the genepool
Our kids all have six toes
and a cousin on death row
We don´t take kindly to strangers here

(it´s all relative in the south)

Our opinions come from Swaggert
We hate them God’damned faggots
We like all colors bright
as long as they´re shades of white
We don´t take kindly to strangers here

We go fishin’ with a 12 gauge
We kill it, then we grill it
Love the dog more than the wife
And they both got crooked smiles
We don´t take kindly to strangers here

(he needed killing is a valid
defense here in the south)

We burn the yard don’t mow it
And we don’t call 911
When I give the gal some sugar
Keep my boots and Stetson on

My junior prom had daycare
And we drink tabacco juice
We hustle round in flannel shirts
and expensive gator boots

And if you yanks come a down here
For our grits, beans and beer
We’ll get messed up at the hoedown
But I hope I made it clear
Sure hope I made it clear

We don’t take kindly to strangers here

(y’all keep coming back now)

Banjo (gDGCD) and Vocals by Matthieu Brandt
Guitar and Vocals by Jaap Pronk

The Golden Gate
looks majestic and clear
Rooftop down
as I play it by ear

Dressed like The Fonz
I’ll be making the scene
Freak flags flying
my California Dream

Drivin’ North
the fog’s getting near
Taking snapshots
fate’s brought me here

Black leather coat
sneakers and jeans
Shades and a T-shirt
in my California Dream

No one knows,
who I am, what I’ve done
Starting over,
it’s back to square one
My slate is wiped clean
in my California Dream

Sausalito Exit
A walk down the pier
Back to the Highway
the West Coast is clear
A stroll in the ocean,
I’m halfway in between
A dead end life
And my California Dream

All these memories
colored by fear
It was time for a change
The future is here

My slate is wiped clean
in my California Dream

The road To Medocino
windy and steep
Radio blasting
I’m at the top of the heap

Cool as a breeze
A handsome James Dean
Revenge sure tastes sweet
In my California Dream

Backing Guitar and Vocals by Jaap Pronk
Matt’s guitar is in Dropped-D.

Kevin Enoch Dobson Banjo tuned eCGCD (capo 2).
(Based on a true ugly story)

If I can’t love you
no one will
These voices inside
can’t keep them still
You knew all along
something was wrong
Wanted to save me
but you were suddenly gone

Can’t go on like this
I’m going insane
I’m burnin’ inside
And you’re to blame
Why did you leave me
in my maze of thoughts
You knew I’d never
find my way out

Though the Bible says
‘Thou shalt not kill’
The pain’s gotta end
and tonight it will

There’s a light at the end
of the tunnel of death
We’ll soon see
once we take our last breath

She can’t have you
You will be mine
Our names together
on that final sign
She is strong
she’ll cary on
In my tangled web
I’m too far gone

The bell has told
so now you’re here
It’ll soon be over
No time to fear
For one last time
I will kiss your face
Then I’ll make my move
with the devil’s grace

Though the Bible says
‘Thou shalt not kill’
The pain’s gotta end
and tonight it will
There’s a light at the end
of the tunnel of death
We’ll soon see
once we take our last breath

If I can’t love you
then no one will

It’s not my fault
I can’t create
It’s such a shame
I can’t be blamed

I got a job
a nine to five
When I’m home
a claiming wife

Raise my kids
Don’t have the time
And today
Ain’t feeling fine

I’m not inspired
Can’t see the light
Watch the game
That’s on tonight

I’ll get a room
Where I’ll create
But not right now
It’s getting late

Make the call
But it’s a sign
I always get
A busy line

My guitar
Needs new strings
The shop is closed
And I can’t sing

My throat is soar
I’ve got the flu
I did all
That I could do

I feel bright
When I complain
Cause I’m an artist
We’re all the same

But why do others
have success
When we all know
that I’m the best

I won’t ever
Cut them slack
(I’m a) Monday-morning
quarterback
Writers’ block
Can’t feel the flow
Lame excuse
That might be so

My friends say
Get up and go
But I enjoy
The Status quo

There’ll come a time
When life is done
Until then
Won’t jump the gun

I’ll create
my masterpiece
When I’m dead
Or in my dreams

It’s not my fault

Banjo (gCGCD capo 2) and Vocals by Matthieu Brandt
Guitar and Vocals by Jaap Pronk

Kevin Enoch Banjo tuned gCGCD.
She’s a barefoot young blonde
in a strapless snow-white dress
She sings three chord songs
With a soothing caress

An anklet and a peace sign
a flower in her hair
a five string beatup wood’ box
Your secret love affair

She smiles her songs of war and peace
The whole world is her stage
You lose your smarts when she’s around
She’s only half your age

She chants her dewy eyed poetry
a potluck of beliefs
She’s savouring your every word
Your golden gift of speech
But

Your wisdom will get old
A tale so often told
You tragic man
You’re fooled again
You’ll pay for shortlived shows
And then

She’ll leave you in the cold
Feeling bought and sold
She gave her word
An elusive bird
Who sings the sweetest song
you heard

But flies away when autumn comes
Your time is marked
The requiem, so painfully clear
Will echo in the dark
Douse the final spark

Her random acts of kindness
A patchwork of idea’s
She’s never worked a day and yet
She tells you how it feels

Are you the one to lift the veil
From a young face, so naïve
To break the blisful spell for her
You know she’s sure to leave
And so

Her beauty will get old
A tale so often told
You tragic man
You’re fooled again
You paid for shortlived shows
And when

Your love for her grows cold
You’ll forever have and hold
The illusive words
of a captured bird
Who sings the saddest songs you heard

White lies disguise her pain and fear
Her time is marked
The requiem, so painfully clear
Will echo in the dark
Douse the final spark

Vega Tubaphone Banjo tuned gCGCE (capo 2).
The kids are off to school again
She sips her coffee at the kitchen table
Her husband´s gone to work, he said
his quick goodbye,
he seems distant lately

It´s all she ever wanted
The dream that now unfolds
to be the perfect wife for him
a facade that´s made of gold

She´s going through the motions
The kids, the cars, a home
Life in smalltown USA
Is life without parole

The dreary morning grind
Brightened by the soap she watches daily
The future left behind
In compromise, she´s better of,
well, maybe

The day is filled with chores
Vacuum, clean the floors
Laundry, dishes, feed the dog
who could ask for more

She always tries to please
In a life thats not her own
Hope replaced by memories
The dream is all but gone

She´ll raise the kids and won´t complain
It´s all her choice, no one to blame
But her hair´s been turning grey
It’s such a cruel fate
It all is such a shame

Daddy´s working late
The kids in bed, a lonely t.v. evening
Wine´s the great escape
An easy high, ignores his lies,
won´t leave him

The red blush on her cheeks
provided by Dior
Hides the scars of time that show
bitterness galore

But it´s all she ever wanted
The dream that now unfolds
Life in smalltown USA
Is life without parole

Banjo (gCGCE) and Vocals by Matthieu Brandt
Guitar and Vocals by Jaap Pronk

Vega Tubaphone Banjo tuned gCGCD (capo 2).
Kevin Enoch Banjo tuned gDGCD (capo 2)
Kevin Enoch Banjo tuned gCGCD.

Languish-300x300

Languish Lives

10 original songs, all solo performances (guitar and vocals) with a guest appearance on one track by Marcello Briganti (bass).

The style ranges from acoustic composed guitar music (think Harry Sacksioni, Martin Simpson, Leo Kottke) to Americana and Singer-Songwriter material (a la Kelly Joe Phelps, James Taylor, Darrell Scott, etc.)

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at Kid Me Studios (Haarlem) in 2009
by Matt.

An instrumental song, using a unique trait
of the guitar; close chord voicings.

I wrote this song for ‘Chord Cookbook’, a course
I released through TrueFire.

When the fog rolls in you´ll see my face
In the dead of night or in a dusty haze
And when you open your eyes and the sky looks clear
Truth is baby I am always here

I am the haystack in the needle
I am the rain on your parade
I am the one to crash your party
Just when you thought you had it made

Like a paranoid stalker beyond a doubt
I will rattle your cage till the truth comes out
In your house of cards I´ll be the ace of spades
And remind you of the tricks you played

I am the haystack in the needle
I am the rain on your parade
I am the one to crash your party
Just when you thought you had it made

You think you got away with murder
But your only out on bail
Your lies will go no further
I´m the hellhound on your trail

You can plead the fifth till the cows come home
But you can only reap what you have sown
I am the sucker punch when you´re riding high
Only the figment of your schizo mind

I am the haystack in the needle
I am the rain on your parade
I am the one to crash your party
Just when you thought you had it made

As I dove for sunken treasures
and came up with empty hands
Just the short lived pleasures
we had written in the sand

Washed away by morning tide
and waves of blue remorse
Sleeping with the seawind´s bride
a slave of nature´s cruel force

I was blown away by windy tails
a poor misguided fool
The seven seas we were to sail
Were a raft in a shallow pool

The whispers in each others ears
now but a distant call
Full of guilt we perservere
victims of a drunken lustfull brawl

The message in a bottle
I threw into the wind
Came back to shore cracked and shot
every time you sinned

Doubts unanswered and lightly weighed
to forgive surely devine
But with your cunning repartee
I bowed to the devil´s shrine

Now faith and hope are on the skids
and still I fear you´ll leave
When many years ago you did
a farewell filled with grief

The widows walk I pace at night
the lighthouse has gone dim
Syren songs now sound contrite
begging me to come on in

Our unborn children surely mourn
the lives they´ll never live
As we mourn the chances we´re withheld
Being unable to forgive

Languish Lives lead parallel
When all I craved was side by side
Captured in a fragile shell
The jaded myths of days gone by

A newborn love that made me shine
Now I’m weary of the chase
A naïve poem with missing lines
They’re now written ‘cross my face

Nostalgia
A soothing embrace
Nostalgia
Reflections are chased
And slowly fade
Day by day

But the park bench is still there
as the ducks and geese look on
It´s where we kissed and gave our vows
Soon all of this will be gone

Nostalgia hides the scars of time
Persuasive promise of the past
Like the rose that´s drenched in wine
This beauty fades
it never lasts

Nostalgia
A soothing embrace
Nostalgia
Reflections are chased
And slowly fade
Day by day

A country style flat picking song that was
there before I knew it.

With a guest role by bass player extra-ordinaire
Marcello Briganti.

City Angels dressed in lace
Lonely souls beyond disgrace
Strolling Red Lit Streets
Alvarado ladies never sleep

A streetwalker named Desire
Just another love for hire
Bedding down with creeps
Alvarado ladies never sleep

One more girl for him won´t matter
One more man for her won´t help
Love is just skin deep
Only Alvarado ladies never sleep

Sidewalk treat
On easy street
Alvarado weeps

A sucker for a pretty face
Tired of the weary race
Passion comes real cheap
Alvarado ladies never sleep

Burn your cash on trailor trash
Ending in a shimmering flash
The pity is yours to keep
Alvarado ladies never sleep

City Angels dressed in lace
Broken souls beyond disgrace
Strolling Red Lit Streets
Alvarado ladies never sleep

Looking out on Highway 101
Six AM and just before dawn
Jetlagged and scared
And yes, I´ve been untrue
But I came from far
to be here with you

Serene sounds of cars that rush by
Sounds like crickets in the summer night
You say you want my future
I can give you my past
And as long as we move
our love will last

We both cry for different reasons
We hold hands, we need to love
It´s the only way out
Of the mess that we made
And the debts that remain unpaid

Would we´ve been lovers or just stayed friends
If what we had did not depend
On two broken hearts that wouldn´t mend

We stroll back to our motel
as the sun shows it´s face
You ask me ´Coffee ?’
´Sure´
I´ll take it black
Can´t sleep, can´t think, can´t go back

Would we´ve been lovers or just stayed friends
If what we had did not depend
On two broken hearts that wouldn´t mend

Couples split and people die
Why do we make a mess of saying goodbye
And the only balance we make
Is the money, what´s our take
Is that all it´s worth , is that how you feel
Was our love, our passion ,
not for real

Would we´ve been lovers or just stayed friends
If what we had did not depend
On two broken hearts that wouldn´t mend

Shades are drawn on another day
As she drives home late at night
She keeps busy not doing much
Cause she needs a place to hide

The job´s her only company
Though she doesn´t really care
working late ’cause no one waits
She has a double cross to bare

The makeup on her face
Is washed away by tears
Her eyes are black
Surrounded by wrinkles
and the sadness of bygone years

The house is dark when she drives on in
The dog that barks isn´t hers
The pile of mail, just ads and bills
And a postcard to someone who moved out years ago

She nukes the pizza, poures herself a beer
Dozes off into her chair
Tired out by memories
She has a double cross to bare

The makeup on her face
Washed away by tears
Her eyes are black
Surrounded by wrinkles
and the sadness of bygone years

The house sounds hollow and emtpy
When she climbs the stairs
No one looks as she undresses
She has her double cross to bare

She pops a pill
Won’t face the mirror
As she combs her hair
She must remember to forget
She has her double cross to bare

She makes the bed
His side stays empty
Where faith was left behind
The curtain closed, alone, she knows
Shes not the healing kind
She crossed the line

An instrumental written in an open tuning:
CGCGCD.

An instrumental written for my Godson Matthew.
Open Tuning: DADF#AD

maninshades-297x300

Man In Shades

12 all original songs recorded by Matt in different settings and in a broad spectrum of arrangements ranging from Americana, to Poppy and Jazz.

Recorded with the help of 16 guest musicians and co-producer Jack Starkey.
Man in Shades was recorded in 2005 and released in 2006.

Mixed at Studio Groenland (Bussum) by Hans Ravestein. Mastered By Erik Van Doorne at Masters of Media.

If you see me hangin’ with a cardboard sign
Playin’ my guitar for a bottle of wine
It’s better than a 9 to 5
Don´t have to listen to somebody else´s jive

I’ll live of nothing but my dreams so bright
Of havin’ my name up there in lights
But I’m no pro, I just clown around
´Cause you see, that’s what I found

To take life serious is just a joke
That can only work for the common folk
´Cause there’s no reason or rhyme
To our limited time

Here on this God forsaken earth
And for whatever its worth
I’ll do my song and dance with a smile
And forget about my sorrow for a while

Curiosity will fuel my drive
Cause I’m doomed to seek the new in life
And throw away what I already know
Let the music take me where it wants to go

Don’t have the balls to hit the road
But I´m strong enough for the heavy load

And if you think I’m joking
You might be right
I’ll always bet the house
I won´t bargain away my life

What I do, don´t give it a name
Can´t keep me hostage in your brain
I am what I am and I do what I do
I can only hope
You do the same thing too

I was going about my life
In a state of denial
Seeing my dreams pass by
Thinking it all worthwhile

Burned the candle at both ends
Face the music, had my chance
Nothing more to do than say goodbye

Caught in the Headlights
A frightened deer that can´t break free
Never make it to daylight
I’ll be roadkill on this dead end street

Lost in a dogfight
Running with tail between my legs
Poisoned by a snake bite
Where do I go from here

She had a way with words
Held me in hope and fright
All the lies I heard
Led to a downhill slide

I won´t be the last you’ll love
And I won´t be the last you’ll leave
Ignorance has brought me to my knees

Caught in the Headlights
A frightened deer that can´t break free
Never make it to daylight
I’m roadkill on this dead end street

Lost in a dogfight
Running with tail between my legs
Poisoned by snake bite
Where do I go from here

Each man´s hell´s in a different place
Mine´s behind my ruined face
The memories of love gone sour
Haunt me in my darkest hours

Caught in the Headlights
A frightened deer that can´t break free
Never make it to daylight
I’m roadkill on this dead end street

Lost in a dogfight
Running with tail between my legs
Poisoned by a snakebite
Where do I go from here

Cruisin´ down the highway
Not another soul in sight
My past has come to haunt me
In this dark, dark night

Your suitcase full of lies
Has been my heavy load
Tonight I finally opened it
Going down that lonesome road

Your life reads like a dime store novel
You thought you had it made
But I´ve spend my nickel worth of dreams
In your penny arcade

The neon sign upon your face
Should´ve told it all
Your lovin’ spell´s been broken
Going down that lonesome road

I´ll remember you for a while
Till I forget that it was you who,
with a smile
Closed the door behind you
Leaving me marooned
Without a grain of hope
Going down that lonesome road

Sometimes you get so alone
That it just makes sense
The solitude of the desert road
Is my only friend

The small talk of the waitress
Makes the diner feel like home
Her empty smile will fuel you
Going down that lonesome road

You´ve taken so much time from me
I´d better kill some more
That´s why I keep on movin´
Going down that lonesome road

So now your leavin´
You´re saying goodbye
I guess I got what I paid for
Won´t ask you why

I ate up all your stories
Like a dog chews a bone
They left me feelin´ empty
Now I´m going down that lonesome road

Your tears don’t fool me
I made many a girl cry
I know when sorrow´s real
And when it’s just another lie

Your pretty face and seductive smile
Were only loyal for a little while
Now that all is said and done
You´re in love with some other one

Broken trust is my ball and chain
I only have myself to blame
Next time I´ll look the other way
Love ain´t ever gonna be the same

Your tears don’t fool me
I made many a girl cry
I know when sorrow´s real
And when it’s just another lie

Your tears don’t fool me
I made many a girl cry
I know when sorrow´s real
And when it’s just another lie

So now your leavin´
You´re saying goodbye
I guess I got what I paid for
Just another lie

The future looks bleak
and dead on its feet
We´ve trampled the soil
In our drunken raged greed
We feast of the land
both jester and king
Without ever a care what
tomorrow may bring

We´ve left our poor infants
to nurture themselves
Spoiled by an abundance
of early gained wealth
We buy us our freedom
Without any constraint
Turning a blind eye
to the hate that we raise

We borrowed this land
from the children we bore
Their grim dark future
is what we ignore
We´re deaf dumb and blind
when violence is preached
But shocked as they fire
the guns at who teach

The leaders we chose
to guide us the way
Failed to abide to the promise
they made
They sold their beliefs
To the prophets of rage
To justify murder
in the wars that they wage

Where do we turn
in this hour of need
When all around
it´s the children that bleed
Which God do we pray to
now doomsday is here
And all has been lost
when trust became fear

Man in shades, switches the blade
His gold tooth smiling fair
Beneath the brim of his hat
He lights a cigarette
And blows the smoke into the air

Patiently he waits
Guard of Orpheus´ gate
That leads you to a pool of sin
From where there´s no returning

The dirty tricks that give you kicks
The cesspool of my mind
The obsession to explore
He´s heard it all before
Every hard luck story

The fog that clouds my sight
Fills me with desire and fright
The dance with morals to obey
Will the hunter become the prey

The prince of darkness draws me near
There´s no need to fear
the unknown,
quench your thirst
The grim reaper starts to moan
And whispers slowly in my ear

Behold and see as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me *

That black faced beast will have to wait
I turn around and walk away
From the sweetest taste of sin
He knows I´ll be returning

* Old American Epitaph
Source: ‘Blue Highways’ by
William Least Heat-Moon

Wherever his life may lead
As Orpheus, he´ll not concede

Taste the venom
court the moon
Pink with grey
his death did gloom

His silence was so full of song
We can paint our memories on
The dark blue canvas he provides
The image wherein he must hide

Scarecrow, waiting for the birds
No one bothered, no one heard

A mystery or juxtaposed
Time has passed, we´ll never know
Never had the skin of nails
Too frail for this world´s pain

Lay the demons down to rest
Resurrection lies in death
A wayward soul without a name
Embittered by the lack of fame

Scarecrow, waiting for the birds
No one bothered, no one heard

The fragile glass of life
crushed by desire´s glove
and shattered when it fell
by the lack thereof

Dedicated to Nick Drake

Reflections of the one I used to be
Cast their shadows on my destiny
Shaped by those I left behind
A life much better I would find

I gave my vows, together we would stay
A childhood faith I never would betray
Now that innocence is lost
I’m longing for a time that never was

Part of the heartland
Still afraid that life would pass me by
Now I’m drowning in the everglades of time

Chasing dreams and passion so sublime
Avoid the consequence while killing time
Escape by drunken careless fun
Youth is wasted on the young

The sole survivor of a scattered past
I weave my strings of stories to make sense
Halfway through this tapestry
It still remains a mystery

Part of the heartland
Still afraid that life would pass me by
Now I’m drowning in the everglades of time

After twenty years of dope
Still haven´t got a clue
Shootin’, drinkin’, snorting coke
No one can get through to you

You’re in and out of jail
sold your body on the street
Feeling sorry for yourself
Life´s great defeat

You put children on this world
That were addicted from the start
You never planned to love them
And thought that was kinda smart

You steal, cheat and break your promise
Betray your family
And when you’re feeling down and out
You ask me for my sympathy

Life ain´t easy
But you never even tried
The price was just too high
When you breath, you lie

Drove a stolen car without a license
Almost killed someone
Had your mom pick up the pieces
The trouble has just begun

I don´t think I know you
You’re just some stranger and a junky
Love will fall on barren ground
That´s how deep you´ve sunk

Life ain´t easy
Don´t you think I feel the same
Old junkies don´t survive
When you breath, you lie

How did you lose your way so long ago
You ran off the track, now no one will know
´Cause there´s no turning back
Now that we all are wise
To all of your lies

You ask me for some dough
To pay for your next fix
Who do you think your talking to
I´m not your pimp, won´t get you kicks

Well, I don´t have no answers
to life´s persistent mysteries
All I know is that you screwed up
And live a life of misery

Life ain´t easy
It´s in the way you deal
You just wanna get high
When you breath you lie

Life ain’t easy
But Don’t think that I won´t cry
When you leave us all behind
And say your last goodbye

When you breath you lie

It´s been a long time coming
The end is finally here
And again it’s me
The cause of all your tears

It´s not that I don´t love you
But I´m not who I used to be
That little boy became a man
As restless as the sea

A simple life´s not what I crave
a family, a career
I have to find what´s out there
And see my chances clear

It´s killing me to go
But it´ll kill me if I stay
It just pains me so to hurt you this way

Won´t be the father of your children
Can´t take the path of least resistance
You´ll find someone who´s true
Someone to take you the distance

As I turn around one final time
And whisper my last goodbye
I look into your sad brown eyes
And ask you for forgiveness

It´s killing me to go
But it´ll kill me if I stay
It just pains me so to hurt you this way

The general store on Main Street
´s been boarded up for years
Kathy´s diner’s closed now
It´s the Taco Bell frontier

Been livin´ off of welfare
‘Cause the factory closed down
Jobs are few and far between
But I guess I´ll stick around

Come closing time you´ll find me
At Jimmy´s Sports Cafe
Cause the only thing I´ll do tomorrow
Is forget about today

I´ll peel the label off of this here Bud
Raise my bottle to your bet
Crumbled coasters on the bar
Going nowhere fast

Guess I should be leavin´
But my pickup truck´s a wreck
The greyhound bus don´t stop here
There´s only rusty railroad tracks

Come closing time you´ll find me
At Jimmy´s Sports Cafe
Cause the only thing I´ll do tomorrow
Is forget about today

My pace has gotten slower
Soon I will be crawling
But I shuffle when I walk
And sting like a bee
Ali´s got nothing on me
My drunken dreams still scrape the sky
But winter´s drawing near
I´ll be stuck on this here bar stool
Hey buddy wontcha buy me a beer

I´ll end up like one of them mongrel dogs
Givin´ everyone the chills
Howlin’ and singin’ the boneyard blues
Up on cemetery hill

Come closing time you´ll find me
At Jimmy´s Sports Cafe
Cause the only thing I´ll do tomorrow
Is forget about today

The quiet evenings of our lives
We spend together side by side
You light the candles
and pour a glass of wine
The golden ring on your finger
is mine

Magnetic smile so fair
Shirley Temple golden hair
You hold my hand
as dusk becomes the night
Your crescent eyes still shine bright

Another day is done
We live them one by one
We share our stories
There´s nothing more to do
Our bed is made for two

I see our picture in a frame
I´m proud you bare my name
I watch you undress
and slip beneath the sheets
We read our books
before we sleep

I turn the lights down low
My arms now hold you close
The house is quiet
The burdens of the day disappear
As if they never were here

The Quiet Evenings

Dedicated to my beautiful wife Anne-Marie

backlog

Back Log

Back Log is the result of a Matt’s musical journey of twenty years.
‘Americana’ in the true sense of the word.

Fluid, powerful and impressive acoustic guitar with a twist of clawhammer banjo and lyrics to chew on; Don McLean meets Leo Kottke in the hills of West Virginia.

The album was recorded in the fall of 2001 and released in 2002.

Mixed at Tapeless Studio, Mastered By Erik Van Doorne at Masters of Media.

This song was inspired by the guitar playing of Kelly Joe Phelps.
When I wrote the song I was aiming at emulating his high speed pyrotechniques in combination with some intricate harmonies.
The lyrics are a blend of traditional verses used in many different blues classics.

Note the slower part in the middle; although the initial inspiration was a change of pace and harmony, it also has a practical purpose: by that time in the song I’m struggling to keep my thumb going at the cut throat speed of 260 BPM.

The tuning I’m using is what I call the ‘Chris Jones’ tuning: CGDGGD. This tuning (also used in “Do it Yourself” & “A Lover’s Dream” gives me a whole lotta musical possibilities, because it’s neither major or minor and it gives a nice fat sound.

Musicians have a great tool to help them overcome the big pains in life.

This song was written in a moment of despair, when my marriage was falling apart in the summer of 1999.

It features the great bugel playing of Simon Lutz.

Written by Chris Jones (btway: there are TWO Chris Jones es, both excellent guitar players.
This one lived in Germany, was an American and plays Lakewood Guitars).

One of the first big challenges in acoustic fingerstyle guitar that I set myself, after not having played fingerstyle for almost a decade.
It features the Chris Jones tuning: CGDGGD and is a beautiful and very dynamic composition.

Don McLean has been a major influence on me during my formative years.
His lyrics to me are as fresh as when I first heard them when I started browsing the record collection of my parents (around 1972)

His storytelling comes from a being a great observer of human nature. Being able to lay that down in words is what every singer songwriter strifes for.
At this, Don McLean is a master.

In the arrangement of the song I decided to keep the last verse a capella. Somehow or other this seemed natural to the song. Bare and fragile the voice, the lyrics as strong as they can ever be.

I was very happy that Tjakina Oosting was willing to play the cello on this arrangement. The part she wrote complements the song in a melancholic way that fits like a glove.

Another Don McLean song and this one with a very powerful message. As Anti-War as you can go, he doesn’t yell profanities; he tells the simple story of a young man going to war.
And not coming back.

This is one song that needed more orchestration than just guitar and vocals.
In the middle part I wanted to hit it home with all the force music could give.
With Harm Wijntjens on Bass and Gerrit Berkouwer on drums it feels like a whole symphonic orchestre at the Concertgebouw.

Don’t we ever learn?

This self explanatory song was on the ‘Too True to Be Blue’ repertoire for a few years.
Another Chris Jones song, where he beats the shit out of the guitar.

In the anger of the demise of yet another one of my bands, this has become my message.
Showing up is 70 % when in a band. Showing up on time is another 10 %.
Showing up sober is another 10 %. Knowing your parts will get you in my hall of fame.

A simple shortlist, yet many so called musicians don’t get it.
Well, ‘scuse me, step aside.
I’ll do it myself.

Thank you Iwan Hoogwoudt for some great funky bass on this one.

A few years back when I was living in Arlington, Ma. USA, I got a phonecall from my then wife, telling me that Pete Meyers had died.
He had been a collegue of her at a radiostation in the Netherlands and I had met him on one or two occasions.

From the stories she told me about him, I had learned that this was really someone special, a man who had lived his life to the limit.
Squeezed every drop out of it, many lives within one. An inspiration to many others.

I laid down the phone and wrote this song in 15 minutes.
I think I got the message, Pete. Thank you.

Paul Rishell: ‘ there’s no such thing as spare time ‘

So, what’s YOUR excuse?
To not call? To ignore. To not write or email.
To not go and visit.

Life’s too short to leave the big stuff lieing around or sweep it under the carpet.

Love feels more comfortable the second time around.
Another beauty from Don McLean. Sung for the first time on 1-1-2000.

How time makes us feel small and how love can make us feel like giants.

The last few years I’ve gotten into writing acoustic guitar music. Mostly using open tunings and trying to create orchestral type sounds on my beloved Martin D2R.

I can remember listening to the records of Harry Saksioni, master guitarist from The Netherlands, in the mid seventies.
Apart from being impressed by his phenomenal technique I loved the melancholic melodies and thick arrangements.
Dreaming away with a beer in my hand, the lights dimmed and him on the headphones, listening for hours.

One man, one guitar and a message. Not in words but in stories. your own stories.

Now, I can’t play his stuff; just don’t have the chops.
So I’ve just written some stuff I CAN play.

I’m sure that Harry doen’s mind…*

Thank you Sjoert Schwitters for writing and playing this gorgeous bassoon part !

* quote from Sultans of Swing

If any song captures what I’m about and where the traps of my life lie, this one’s it.

All of Don McLean’s songs I’ve sung for over two decades, just never when anyone could hear it.

Unless, of course, if you happened to be riding your bike close behind me, when I was riding to my high school in the big city of Tilburg.

When in W. Virginia, listen to Appalachian Banjo music. That’s how I got into contact with this beautiful roots music.
Driving around for many hours, the local music on the radio and being overwhelmed by its pureness and soulfulness.
Like the acoustic blues from the 20′s and 30′s, but white.

Thanks to David Hamburger who lend me his 5 string banjo a few years back and to Theo Lissenberg who is a walking encyclopedia of Bluegrass and Old Time music.

Recorded in my bedroom (!) Expect more banjo on the next album, I love it.

‘Wish I recorded this album, every song is right on the money.’
Maybe once every 5 years, I’ll have that thought.
‘The Making of Vibrolux’ is one of those cd’s .

When you come across a musical soulmate, you’ll know.
Within a minute.

Larry John McNally is one of those musicians.
I saw him play at a festival in Groningen, The Netherlands
and immidiately bought every recording of his that I could lay my hands on.

Larry’s songs have been covered by many great artists (‘Nobody’s Girl’ by Bonnie Raitt !) and here I put in my 5 cents worth.

Sung by my wife Anne-Marie, a beautiful melody with intricate lyrics.

I wrote and dubbed the three finger bluegrass style banjo part, but it’s really not my cup of tea.
Just too difficult and it takes too much time to keep that style of playing up to par, hah .

4 songs for the price of ONE:

– Irina’s waltz; a guitar arrangement of a Dirk Powell piano/violin tune,

– Cabin in Montana; a song I wrote about that place, somewhere in the world, where you can really lay down and rest,

– Go Down Moses * ; a Martin Simpson arrangement I picked up a few years back,

– Fullerton Street Strut; a tune by Geoff Bartley I picked up when I was living in Boston.

That Hole is named after a translation of the tuning I’m using: DADGAD or dat gat.
* for Frances

Me and my lovely wife, sittin’ on a porch in our rocking chairs
somewhere in the southern part of the US
… a glass of whiskey within reach
.. the sun going down on one of those blazing hot days

and me strummin’ my banjo

Whaddaya thank?
Yepp, sheer bliss.