Matt Keating is new to me but this CD hit the carpet along with news that Mr. Keating is playing two local gigs in May (Laurie’s Bar and Kilbarchan if you ask). So what else to do but give it a spin and see what happens.
Keating certainly comes highly recommended when you check his bio. Essentially he’s a singer songwriter who gets mentioned in the same breath as Elliot Smith and Ron Sexsmith, praise indeed. Normally one reads these blurbs with a sense of detached amusement as according to the majority of them you are about to hear the aural equivalent of the great American novel. I don’t think Keating is in the same league as Smith but he certainly gives Sexsmith a run for his money.
This is his eighth album and is generally a very nice, very laid back affair. Warm and comfortable, late night listening with Keating’s vocals sounding so easy, at times reminiscent of Willie Nelson, at others, Lou Reed. This is indeed mentioned in his press and surprisingly enough it’s true. At times this makes for an odd listening experience but the end result is a heart-warmingly vulnerable voice, no more so than on “The Place” which is a beautiful song, like looking at snow through a window. Elswhere Keating’s songs remind me of Hobotalk. There is an aching at the heart of them which is bolstered by the inclusion of strings giving a song like “Better than That” a timeless quality, it could easily be from an early Neil Young album.
On the strength of this a night at one of the gigs looks like an interesting proposition.
Tour dates and music samples here