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Alt Country Goodness

If you ever wonder what we get up to when we're not writing, singing, creating, cleaning, parenting, working or learning... it’s this – we are finding and listening to music. Listening and listening, and making playlists for days!

Heard of Matt Joe Gow before??? Yeah, me either - and it's our loss - because he's great, and a Kiwi to boot!

Here's my wee tale of how I stumbled upon him for you...

A couple of years ago, a photo of a Country Music duo came up on my feed - and something about it reminded me of Bob Dylan's 'Bringing It All Back Home' album cover, and so I looked again for closer inspection and loved the boots they both wore, and that was enough for me to listen to their music - and so it was I started following Melissa & The Dr...

Never underestimate the power of a great pair of boots!

Flash forward a couple of years, they announced they were supporting Matt Joe Gow on his N.Z. tour... so I checked him out, and much to my delight I saw he had covered 'Running Up That Hill' - which, thanks to my children and thanks to Stranger Things, has been playing non-stop in this household for a while now.

Immediately I loved the low key way he re-imagined a classic - not trying to outdo Kate Bush, because nobody can and why would we want to anyhow - but he sang it in such a way that I believe him. And that's all that matters to me.

All my life I've wanted to sing 'Wuthering Heights' the way I hear it in my mind, and hearing Matt sing his version of Kate Bush makes me confident I can do it. Already since then, I've learned to play 'Running Up That Hill' enough to sing it, and hear my own children sing it with me, and that's the miracle of music and the way it passes on from generation to generation…

Back to Matt Joe Gow – since finding him on Spotify, I decided to listen to each of his albums all the way through – because that’s how I would most love somebody to listen to Velvet Arrow one day - honouring the intent of the artist in the way they want to be heard.

There’s gold in every album, and I love the sound of 'The Dead Leaves' which is an Australian band he was in for some time a decade ago that I bet Triple J would have been all over and I'd have heard already, had I still been living over there.

The Americana sound of ‘Break, Rattle and Roll’ is music to my ears as I clean in the dark one night, and I’ve since learned it won an Australian Best Country Album award, but it’s the Alt Country ‘Seven Years’ that’s become the album I love most. Perhaps for its simplicity, or maybe it’s the lyrics - I’m not sure, but I listen to it on repeat.

'Bye' has tones of my all-time favourite Radiohead with a touch of Marlon Williams, ‘Bitter Pill’ and ‘Right By You’ reminds me of Jakob Dylan with harmonica borrowed from his father, and there’s a little bit of Bruce Springsteen, and ‘Let Love Be’ feels like Tom Petty, and overall that’s a pretty lovely mix right there.

Then I watched a lovely interview of Matt with Roger Bowie on and thought - everyone needs to see/hear this guy!

So I’ve added some of my favourite Matt Joe Gow songs to one of my many playlists – fitting him in with Justin Townes Earle and Orville Peck, and a few other amazing Alt Country artists I’d love to cover one day, along with a few Velvet Arrow songs so I can hear them mixed in as I would if I were my own biggest fan …because that’s how I roll!

'The Saint of Lost Causes' playlist by Hannah Jane -

Meanwhile, lucky us - Matt Joe Gow is playing a low-key acoustic set at The Wine Cellar in Auckland this Sunday!!!

Matt says it's likely to sell out like his Dunedin show was - so grab your tickets NOW and we'll see you there!

x Hannah Jane


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