Life should feel real to all of us. If you’re honest about it, you get a small sliver of time and then poof; the earth continues on, and our true impressions are left with those who knew us best, and the places we called “home”. It can be forever lasting somewhere out there. Its an energy fiercely propelling cycles, through the ether, like those wonderful “Sunday Leaves” fueled by the gusts of wind on an autumn day.
Matt Honkonen has been touring for more than ten years with such bands as Tenderhooks, Llama Train, RB Morris, Tim Lee 3 and Joey English. Honkonen has shared the stage with acts like the Fiery Furnaces, The Features and ZZ Top and played celebrated festivals including Bonnaroo and CMJ.
Now, Honkonen finds himself hitting the lessons hard in his own studio as poet and producer. This his second album as an independent artists, and his eighth record to date. Matt retooled his Tiny Tree House Studios to be a beacon of DIY ethics, and a new and promising place for musicians to come and craft their material. Currently he is working on the new Llama Train record, and Cody Noll’s EP. And I personally hope to get his help finalizing the next Nomadic Firs effort as well.
We owe a lot to our Artists. Sadly, the modern way to appreciate music is pretty weak, treated as a commodity in the robotic voids of trendy “hashtag culture”, Spotify, and throwaway Top 40 garbage. A new album is old after its release, etc. This is not to say that pop culture and getting a spin in a local coffee shop isn’t a great feeling, because of course it is. But the music makers create the greatest pastimes we have. Like wine, they lubricate the mundane, and assist the communications of our collective weirdness as humans. Revelations like this is why I celebrate a DIY mentality, festivals like Big Ears, and the love and sacrifice on Matt Honkonen’s new album.
Take Me Home is filled with shades of soft colors, sprinkled through a valley of gray nature. Its quietly yelling for us to walk a mile in its shoes. From the tinges of southern rock mostly tucked behind a hazy neo-folk sound. There’s the reverb riddled elements on tracks like “Sea of Clouds” which is easily one of the best singles I’ve heard in the last year. The album really has a kind of blueprint for all listeners with its sort of happy moments that bleed into the faint bloom of melancholy, nestled into really catchy cadences, and of course Matt’s ability to turn phrases. On “She Is A Mystery”, he sings “You put the flowers to bloom, you put a man on the moon, you pull the sun from the clouds, you turn my quiet to loud”. He drops lyrics that will stay in your mind for days, and pop up in random for years to come.
Take Me Home is already turning heads here in Knoxville making a top 15 albums of 2015 list. And another Top 20 list where The Daily Times said “The songs draw you in because they deserve to be lived in..”. I couldn’t agree more.
Although on his new album Honkonen explores different territory outside the world of straight folk. He still rocks the south, still rocks a steady bourbon, and of course that “scruffy city” mentality we here in Knoxville live by. But he’s also putting a little “west coast folk” in there, and some very light electronic elements. So, sorry “purity” lovers, its only reverb.
There’s songs on Take Me Home we can all agree are wonderful, tracks like “Honey Bee”, an absolute must for the repeat feature on your system. And a tune destined to blast off toward some higher level of acclaim. My own Mom texted me regularly for a whole month to get a copy of it. We don’t like the same music, so that should tell you something about the new album, Take Me Home.
To exude trust and companionship via sound is a unique gift, and on Honkonen’s new album, he glides supreme. Honkonen reassures us that its tough, but we’re all good. He’s opened a window to modernity for the sake of relevancy and creativity, and that spark is now fire. An artists grateful for his existence but not overwhelmed by the blind myopic circumstances of being comfortable. This cat loves the struggle, it makes him love life. After all, Take Me Home is a straight DIY effort. It takes plenty of grit to pull that off, especially all by yourself. This is a big step forward for this Knoxville Troubadour.
I highly recommend you SUPPORT albums like this. So buy his new album Take Me Home. BUY IT HERE BY CLICKING HIS NAME. MATT HONKONEN. Its also available at all major digital outlets. And hopefully someone approaches him about a proper vinyl release. It deserves it…
PRESERVATION PUB – Saturday, February 20, 2016
WDVX SIX O’CLOCK SWERVE – Thursday, April 28, 2016
CONCERTS ON THE COMMONS | NORRIS LAKE – Friday, June 24, 2016
For more information on the Honkster, visit http://www.matthonkonen.org