Times sure have changed since the first time I saw Mat Kearney perform in 2006 but one thing that hasn’t changed? Mat Kearney’s dope tracks and style! With the release of his latest Just Kids also came a tour and, lucky for me, a stop at The Ritz in Ybor.
But first let’s give some cred to opening act Judah & the Lion….HELLO! This band gives me faith that the younger generations really know what good music is! One from Tennessee, one from Colorado and one from the suburbs of Chicago come together to create a unique blend from geographical influences. The bluegrass and folk feel along with their over enthusiastic energy level leave you wanting more after each performance. My favorite song live was Rich Kids.
Front man Judah Akers sure makes folk pretty and by pretty I mean he’s started my attraction to long haired men. I kid I kid (well not really) but I truly think this band has the goods to bring bluegrass more mainstream. Check out their latest album HERE and by golly jump on the Judah and The Lion bandwagon.
Now on to the main attraction. Because Mat falls under the genres of rock, folk, Contemporary Christian and YES hip hop, I am always kept on my toes with his styling and lyrical performances. I love how one moment you’ll be swaying with eyes closed to a song and the next bopping your head back and forth to a beat and then next you’ll be moving your shoulders while snapping (which is what Heartbeat is currently making me do in my bedroom with strep throat and all) all in 10 minutes of his albums.
My initial draw to Mat Kearney was when I first heard Nothing Left to Lose and I have to admit my Oregon childhood was drawn to this Oregonians style. I saw him in a bar full of maybe 40 people in upstate NY in the mid 2000’s and this song still hits my heart strong in 2015.
Fast forward and the hits kept coming for me. Maybe a little predictable but upon discovery of Undeniable (also from the album Nothing to Lose) and Ships in the Night, you have no idea how repetitive those songs were on my Ipod!
But what I’d love to draw more attention to is Mat Kearney’s latest Just Kids! WOW! Mat takes us through a nostalgic look at his childhood while innovating his sound just enough to peak your interest but not steering too far away from his roots. The best thing about this album? One day I’ve decided on a favorite track only to have a new one the next week. Isn’t that what great albums produce?
Mat’s shows have come a long way in 10 years and are beyond worth checking out! He brings a cool swag to his performance. It’s as if he is completely unaware of just how cool and talented his is which makes him all the more addicting.
If you’re looking to shake your shoulders and snap your fingers like me currently checkout the first release from his album Heartbeat.
Also, check out Billion for this mood!
For a more head bopping type of mellow mood Just Kids is a must that offers a subtle r & b undertone with some cool audio affects. Heartbreak Dreamer is another gem that keeps you guessing with its instrumental changes.
Let it Rain was initially the first song that drew my attention on the album. The soulfulness in the chorus is pure and uplifting despite the overall theme of dark days. “Just because it’s pouring down doesn’t mean we’re gonna drown” is an actual quote I have written down in my journal to refer to! Gosh I love lyrics!
A highlight for me live at his concert was when he played One Black Sheep. It seemed to engage even the obnoxious drunk concert goers behind us who we overheard questioning “who is this guy?”.
If I keep going I will end up highlighting EVERY track on his album. Although it might be worthy of that! But for now I just encourage you to check it out and enjoy the journey that is Just Kids. Oh yeah…did I mention he did a RAD cover of Uptown Funk?
What do you think of Mat Kearney?