The Lowell Summer Music Series Adds Another First-Timer
Another first-timer to the Lowell Summer Music Series, Mat Kearney, will appear on the Boarding House Park stage on Sunday, August 4th! I admit to knowing nothing about Mat other than his name, so I am looking forward to being introduced to a new artist this summer!
“Years before he toured the world as a platinum selling, boundary-breaking artist, Mat Kearney grew up in Eugene, Oregon. It was during those teenage years that he developed his love for classic songwriting — the kind that transcends generations and genres. He’d strum chords on a friend’s acoustic guitar, paving the way for a career that would eventually take him far away from Eugene.
“Much has changed since those days in the Pacific Northwest. Even so, Kearney hasn’t forgotten his musical roots. On his fifth album, CRAZYTALK, he mixes his most timeless songwriting to date with a wide, genre-bending set of interests. There are organic instruments, electronic samples, chill house grooves, tropical sounds, and collaborations with DJs like AFSHeeN, filous, and RAC all glued together by an emphasis on ageless hooks and thought-provoking lyrics. The result is one of the most adventurous, nuanced albums of his acclaimed career, filled with EDM drops one minute and acoustic guitars the next.
“It’s a sound that nods to Kearney’s history as a melody-driven songwriter, even as it pushes him into new territory.
“”Back in Oregon, I was a punk skater kid who fell in love with Lauryn Hill, Tribe Called Quest, and Bel Biv Devoe,” he says. “At the same time, I also loved playing my buddy’s guitar. In a way, I’ll always be that kid, drawing from the influences I grew up with.”
“Combining classic songs with modern, beat-heavy production, CRAZYTALK offers up a sound that’s both cerebral and visceral. It’s music for the head and the heart, but it’s also music for the dance floor.
“”At my core, I’m a songwriter,” adds Kearney, who produced half of the album in his home studio in Nashville. “I wanted to explore new production ideas with this album, though, to see how I could frame these songs in a different way. CRAZYTALK has some deep house influences, some African samples, some tropical sounds, and a lot of electronics — things that wouldn’t normally be found in a singer/songwriter record — juxtaposed with some classic songs. It’s a sound that really occupies its own lane.”
“Inspired in part by the birth of his first child in January 2017, Kearney found himself writing CRAZYTALK‘s lyrics with a new, mature perspective. He’d been a traveling songwriter for more than a decade, releasing three Top 20 albums along the way. The sound he helped introduce with his major-label début, 2006’s Nothing Left to Lose — a record that combined the bright sounds of pop music the with darker, harder-hitting influence of hip-hop — had since become one of the most common genres of the 21st century, with chart-topping artists like Ed Sheeran and Twenty One Pilots all following in his footsteps. His legacy already established, Kearney felt comfortable broadening his songwriting, filling CRAZYTALK with songs that embraced an older, wiser point of view.
“”I realized I didn’t need to make every song a ‘young love story,'” he says. “I’m comfortable writing music from a perspective of having been around the block a few times, because that’s how I am in real life. The result is some beautiful, wise songs that sound like they’ve been well- traveled.”
“The album’s opening track, “Better Than I Used to Be,” takes a look at those early days in Kearney’s backseat. It’s a song about growing tall without forgetting your roots, laced with vocal effects, programmed percussion, and the familiar croon of Kearney’s voice. That voice takes center stage on slower tracks like the modern, minimalist “Memorized” and a nuanced cover of Sade’s “By Your Side,” with both songs proving that CRAZYTALK doesn’t need lush, layered production to pack a punch.
“On album highlights like “Kings & Queens,” though, Kearney makes room for an arsenal of instruments. He played many of them himself, beefing up the mix with digital samples and electronic flourishes. The album’s songs were written in a similar way, with Kearney taking inspiration from organic instruments as well as synthesized loops.
“”I’m a 50/50 guy,” he explains of his songwriting process. “I’ll sit down with my acoustic guitar and write a song, but I’ll also start with a beat, and then expand it into a song, like it was a hip-hop track. Those worlds can be opposites, but I’ve always played with both. I wrote the song ‘Face to Face’ on a ukulele, then added some percussion that sounded like 90s R&B. I wrote ‘Sleeping at the Wheel with country songwriting legend Ross Copperman, then took it back to my studio and added an African sample from a Bela Fleck record.”
“Released May 4th, CRAZYTALK also marks Kearney’s first project as an independent artist. A major-label veteran whose previous albums were issued by Columbia and Republic, Kearney felt the need to create his fifth album with complete freedom.“
Tickets for the Mat Kearney show are priced at $35 in advance (fee-free!). There are also premium seats – beach chairs are provided by the Series – set in two rows directly in front of the stage for $135. Tickets for this show went on sale on Thursday, March 7th at 10 a.m. through Lowell Summer Music Series.
For those of you who are unaware of the Series, or if you are aware of it but have never attended a show there, it is an outdoor (weather permitting) concert series held on National Park Service grounds in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Series is not-for-profit, which helps keep the ticket prices reasonable.
Surrounding Boarding House Park are old mill buildings, part of the Lowell National Historical Park, which you can tour if you arrive early enough. They provide an unusual setting for an evening of great music and ambiance.
The Series generally runs from mid-June to early September.
This Series is dear to my heart. I have been a season pass holder since 2007 and it is one of the highlights of the year (and of summer in particular) for me. Many lasting friendships have been made there. I expect this will be another excellent year!
I will post additional announcements for the Series as they are made.
So far, the lineup is:
July 13th (Saturday) – The Record Company
July 14th (Sunday) – Angélique Kidjo
July 19th (Friday) – I’m With Her
July 20th (Saturday) – The Wallflowers
August 4th (Sunday) – Mat Kearney
August 10th (Saturday) – The English Beat
August 15th (Thursday) – The Beach Boys
Posted on March 11, 2019, in concert announcements, music, Uncategorized and tagged Boarding House Park, boston, concert announcement, Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Summer Music Series, Mat Kearney, music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.