CD REVIEW: Matt Hannah - Let the Lonely Fade
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Hannah is a gifted songwriter"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Matt Hannah
CD: Let the Lonely Fade
Label: Gammie Records
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Pop, Americana
Sounds Like: John Maher, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Counting Crows, The Fray
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Drum Tonality, Short sided CD, more harmonies
(MINNEAPOLIS, MINN) Matt Hannah is an experienced guitar teacher who has played guitar for more than 20 years. He studied with Zig Zeitler, founder of White Crow Music Conservatory in Saginaw, MI, for 9 years before eventually moving to New York City, where he took lessons with Richard Lloyd of the famed band Television. While in New York, Matt taught full-time for Rivington Guitars on the Lower East Side for six years, and was chosen in 2008 to teach kids ages 8-18 in an after school program at the Harlem YMCA for a VH1 Save the Music grant. Matt moved to Minneapolis in 2011 and has taught lessons all over the Twin Cities, and also runs an after school guitar class at a housing cooperative in Southeast Minneapolis. His latest 10 Track release is entitled “let the Lonely Fade” (2014).
The CD kicks things off with melodic “Bigger than the Ocean” a passionate acoustic guitar driven intro groove with methodical musical build, hooky chorus and emotionally charged vocal delivery. Track 2 “Long way to Drive” serves up another hooky groove, with melodic musical flow coupled with hooky melody and impressive guitar ambience. Track 3 “1,000 Miles” shifts gears with its warm ukulele intro eventually lending itself into an infectious melody with thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of John Maher, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, The Fray and Counting Crows. Right from the start you will notice Hannah feels quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a nice Americana feel to it. Music is at times genuine, gripping, melodic, poppy and hooky with pockets of hope shining through. The American fretwork is world class across the board as Hannah and company dish out impressive guitar licks. Also present are rock solid rhythm guitar playing, impressive Pedal Steel accents, mandolin, pedal steel, solo guitar, piano, and well placed electric guitar accents. Hannah’s got solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He’s got good vocal instincts within each movement he displays an impressive falsetto and inviting timber throughout. His vocal style reminds me of a cross between Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Isaac Slade (The Fray). Hannah is a gifted songwriter, storyteller and vocalist. The songwriting is brilliant and provides a lot of musical variety and emotion. His vocal emotions really seal the deal for me as he makes a strong emotional connection with the listener. He really handles all the pin drop moments extremely well - this is a critical component of Singer/Songwriter often taken for granted, The musicianship from all the other members in the band has everything you would expect from a standard 4 piece Americana-Folk band. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. From my personal favorite “Midnight Hurt” to hypnotic “Run River Run” to rock steady “Let the Lonely Fade” to warm and inviting “Colorado Girl” to heartfelt “Find Our Way Back Home” this 10 track CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Save What You Can” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber. I really like the cover art as well.
It’s hard to find any solid weaknesses with this production. The quality of the drum recordings sound a bit amateurish and off kilter to me lacking crystal clear high end clarity. It's fair to say the rhythm section is a bit lacking on other tracks. The CD is a bit short with 10 Tracks logging in just shy of 35 minutes. Perhaps 3-4 more tracks are needed to make it a fully loaded release. Hannah should consider harmonizing more either with himself of using other band members. This would mix up the vocal deliver a bit better. If Hannah were to meet an experienced producer for his next effort Hannah could become bigger than any of us realize at the moment.
In close Let the Lonely Fade my Matt Hannah delivers an impressive, passionate, impassioned, hooky 10 song release from Matt Hannah that upholds the highest standards in good Americana Pop. If he has an impressive live presentation then that would be a deadly combination no doubt. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate and highly entertaining – and clearly prove Hannah is on to something special going down this path. At the end of the day Matt Hannah is a world-class singer/songwriter possessing an infectious pop personality clearly worthy of worldwide recognition. One would be wise to keep a watchful on him over the years to come.