Later this month, on 30th October, ex-Noah and the Whale man Matt Owens releases his new album Scorched Earth which follows on from his critically acclaimed 2019 Nigel Stonier-produced album Whiskey and Orchids.
Owens is certainly a grafter and clearly well-respected on the Americana circuit, he has been recently collaborating with the likes of Elles Bailey and Robert Vincent (who both grace this record,) as well as playing in Thea Gilmore’s live band on tour, and on her Number 1 album, Small World Turning which we reviewed here.
This album marks something of a change as he takes hold of the production reins and enters into a sphere of rich creativity which is both lyrically and sonically noticeable.
“I began chasing new instruments and sounds that I’d very much distrusted in the past, to see if I could find a use for them. In doing so bass organ pedals, synthesisers, crazy stomp boxes, synthetic drums, and even Turntables ended up on the album, and I’ve now fallen in love with all of them.”
Check out his latest video for album track Cargo for the Road, a brutally honest reflection on the burden and turmoil experienced while touring and trying to hold down a relationship. The weariness of the situation carries over so well, a heartfelt number that bodes so well for his highly anticipated new album.
Cargo for the Road is a world-weary road song written on a 21 hour drive, in the back of a small van from Seattle to Fargo, during the Noah and the Whale days. It touches upon some of the hard truths that touring musicians can fail to mention: the lack of crowds, exhaustion, heartache, homesickness; a dream that’s fading in its romance.
I tried to turn it into a song on that tour, but lost the lyrics and ended up finishing it off four years later when I found them again. Thankfully by then I’d learnt how to finger pick…
It was a song I kept returning to live, possibly because I’m not sure how many of these one gets to write, and I like how unguarded the song is. It just lays it all out brutally honestly, and serves as an accurate snapshot of what was going on at the time.
Scorched Earth (30 October) will be available digitally worldwide and CDs distributed exclusively via Bandcamp (mattowens.bandcamp.com) and select record stores.