Home Feature Matthew Holtby’s new EP is a sonic departure

Matthew Holtby’s new EP is a sonic departure

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Oshawa-born, Warkworth-based Matthew Holtby has been slowly adding to his collection of singles for the past two years. Working with Peterborough producer Michael Phillips, the pair has been digging out the sounds Matthew creates on his acoustic guitar with the help of his bandmates, best friends and even his father.

Last year saw the release of two independent singles, which caught the ear of the CBC, and also helped to land him a few festival spots. He also had the pleasure of opening for legendary blues rocker David Wilcox to a sold-out crowd in his hometown of Oshawa. With the help of his last release, Matthew’s Americana sound has garnered a few notable online reviews. This time, that stripped back acoustic sound has vanished and transformed into something mystical and magical

The lead off track on his brand new self-titled EP, “A Certain Place In Time,” begins with a shivering fiddle courtesy of Port Hope’s Manja Horner. Then old-friend-turned-new-bandmate Ken Kucharic does his very best David Gilmour impression on lead guitar. The hushed vocal is combined with a massive backing band that takes the listener on a trip that rolls like thunder and crashes like the sea.

The second song, which is being delivered as the single, is a straightforward pop-rocker that was written upstairs at Matthew’s in-law’s home, where he shared a bedroom apartment two years ago. He, his wife and two kids were searching for their new home while staying above the garage in a loft near Stoney Lake, when he woke up to the melody he dreamed of the night before.

“I grabbed my Norman, sat up, and the song fell out of me,” he said. The result is “Goodbye Song,” a three-and-a-half-minute jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on your playlist next to songs by The Lemonheads, Matthew Sweet or Wilco.

The final song of this collection is “People I Admire,” a somewhat biographical song that touches on real life loss, combined with a playful saxophone and honkey tonk piano. Matthew has never denied his love for New Orleans life and culture. The artwork features a photo and vibe that recalls the jazz releases of long ago, and that feeling is quite intentional. All in all, this three-song EP is worthy of repeat listens and adds a new colour to an already vibrant, yet small, library of heartfelt music.

The release will be celebrated with live dates both solo, and with a band.

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