ON-based Matthew Holtby has been slowly adding to his collection of singles, one song at a time for the past two years. Working with Peterborough, ON Producer Michael Phillips, the pair have been digging out the sounds Holtby creates on his acoustic guitar with the help of his bandmates, best friends and even his Father. Last year saw the release of two independent singles which caught the ear of the CBC, and also helped to land him a few festival spots. He also had the pleasure of opening for legendary blues rocker David Wilcox to a sold-out crowd in his hometown of Oshawa. With the help of his last release, Holtby’s Americana style sound has garnered a few notable online reviews. This time, that stripped back acoustic sound has vanished and transformed into something mystical and magical.
Check out Goodbye on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_cw2KZTNNY
It’s a sound almost unrecognized with the lead off track on his brand new self titled EP. “A Certain Place In Time” begins with a shivering fiddle courtesy of Port Hope’s Manja Horner. The song crashes and implodes before old friend turned new bandmate Ken Kucharic does his very best David Gilmour impression on lead guitar. The hushed vocal is combined with a massive backing band that takes the listener on a trip that rolls like thunder, and crashes like the sea. References to nature and weather come to life with lines like “the green fades from leaves and trees carry weight of falling snow.” There is a picture being painted and the pallet is vivid and explosive.
The second song which is being delivered as the “single” of the three, is a straightforward pop-rocker that was written upstairs at Holtbys’ in-law’s home where he shared a bedroom apartment two years ago. He, his Wife and two kids were searching for their new home while staying above the garage in a loft near Stoney Lake, when he woke up to the melody he dreamed of the night before. “I grabbed my Norman, sat up and the song fell out of me.” The result is “Goodbye Song.” A three-and-a-half-minute jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on your playlist next to songs by The Lemonheads, Matthew Sweet or Wilco.
The final song of this collection is “People I Admire.” A somewhat biographical song that touches on real life loss, combined with a playful saxophone and honkey tonk piano. Holtby has never denied his love for New Orleans life and culture. The artwork features a photo and vibe that recalls the jazz releases of long ago, and that feeling is quite intentional. All in all, this 3 song EP is worthy of repeat listens, and adds a new colour to an already vibrant, yet small library of heartfelt music.
The release will be celebrated with live dates both solo, and with his band.