Matt Nathanson Biography
Insert an acoustic guitar, years of failed relationships (both musical and romantic) and lot's of Raymond Carver stories and you pretty much have Matt's trajectory from blossoming metal head into solo, heart on sleeve, singer songwriter.
Matt recorded and released his first album while still a student in Claremont, CA. Titled Please, the collection was comprised of 13 songs built around aggressive, acoustic guitar playing and honest, biting lyrics. Believing that acoustic instruments were the best vehicles for conveying emotion, Matt made a point of having no electric guitars on the record.
Matt built on this idea even further with the release his second CD, Ernst (1997). Recorded in his new hometown of San Francisco, ernst was largely influenced by Bruce Springsteen's, Nebraska and the early records of Ani Difranco. The songs are sparse but beautiful with Matt's voice accompanied by little more than a lone acoustic guitar.
And it was this way that Matt performed, opening for Fiona Apple, Toni Childs, Richard Thompson, Ben Harper and Dar Williams to name a few. In these environments, Matt quickly learned that, without a band, an audience needed more than great songs to grab onto. They needed to feel invested in the performer. Following the lessons taught by great singer/songwriters like Greg Brown, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin, Matt loosened up. He started telling stories from the stage and adding the occasional tounge-in-cheek Bon Jovi or Maddona sing along. These covers struck a perfect balance when played next to his own, emotionally charged songs. The audiences began to stick. They returned to shows, brought friends, bought every CD and began to spread the word.
Matt's third CD - a compilation of unreleased songs called Not Colored Too Perfect --was released 1998. It was at this point that Matt decided it was time to enter the studio with a full band. Recorded mostly around Christmas, 1998, at a farm/studio where Tom Waits has recorded his last few records, Still Waiting For Spring offers the perfect balance of singer/songwriter intimacy and rock band well, rock. With the help of members of Counting Crows, the John Hiatt band, FAR and indie rock darlings Creeper Lagoon, Spring successfully mixes electric and acoustic guitars, drums and bass with less traditional instruments like hammond organ, pedal steel, harmonium, chamberlain and strings.
With the release of Spring, coupled with frequent touring (both solo and with band) and a website which gets as many as 13,000 hits a month, Matt has been able to build a strong and loyal fanbase across the U.S. with each new record selling more than the last. Even though the major labels have come knocking, Matt seems uninterested, and with the next year booked up with more tours and the recording of CD number five, who can blame him.