Matt Joe Gow – Wine Cellar: August 21, 202

Matt Joe Gow is the Man in Black, from hat to boots tonight at the Wine Cellar. With voice and guitar, he lays down an evening of soulful Americana resonant with influence from the likes of Springsteen, Petty and Van Morrison.

He looks like the guy who travels on that ribbon of highway. The music is melancholy whilst being transcendent, like the best Folk and Country is at heart.

Matt grew up in New Zealand with Dunedin as hometown. A resident of Melbourne for many years and he initially fronted country rock outfit called Dead Leaves in 2009, before dedicating himself to a solo musical path.

Come To Mama She Say opens the show, from The Messenger album. Singing about twisters and there’s a fair amount of the Boss in the vocal delivery. Come to my mobile is pronounced mo-beel. It’s not the Alabama town, it’s the campervan then.

Down River is a drifter’s song, inspired by Johnny Cash and Tom Petty recording at Rick Rubin’s studio. Gow’s voice sits between the baritone of Cash and the tenor of Petty. A distinctive warm instrument. The refrain let it go is sung like a Van Morrison mantra.

Sweet Collapse then is the full Caladonian Soul style of the Belfast cowboy, right down to the pace and phrasing. Take a look at me in my sweet collapse.

At the Bar has the atmosphere of honky-tonk joints. Done with a band on the album, it still delivers a nice up-beat swing. I don’t wanna be at the bar no more/ I just wanna be in your arms.

I Let You Be is spare and subdued and shares a similar acoustic guitar rhythm to Springsteen’s State Trooper.

Matt Joe GowCurrent single ‘Til My Whole Heart Bursts sounds like country Americana that the Heartbreakers excelled at. I got beat up by this town/ Through the dark/ Through the storm/ Through the door. Played solo brings out deeper roots of Carter Family and Appalachian hills.

And then there’s the cover of Kate Bush’s female orgasmic masterpiece Running Up That Hill. Played by special request tonight. Is there so much hate for the ones we love? is miraculously turned into Americana. Stranger things happening every day indeed.

Break, Rattle and Roll has a gospel sound and shares something with Charlie Rich’s Feel like Going Home.

In that frame of mind, the show closes with Between Tonight and Tomorrow, title track to a forthcoming album. Soulful and contemplative.

Matt Joe Gow could play alongside any Americana singer-songwriter artist you care to name and carry it off with style.

Rev Orange Peel

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