Free Music Friday – Matthew Perryman Jones

In A Decade:  The Complete Works

One of the things I love about NoiseTrade is how artists are diving into the free music thing and seem to be making it work. Derek Webb wrote a blog post back in 2011 about how giving away your music makes more sense than Spotify or piracy. A follow up of sorts was published in 2013 on how a NoiseTrade model can ultimately further a musicians career more than streaming services.  I have started following so many bands thanks to their NoiseTrade giveaways. In honor of this, I am going to start occasionally spotlighting some artists on Friday’s. If I don’t have a interview to post or review to write, it will be a Free Music Friday! Today’s inaugural post is highlighting Matthew Perryman Jones, who has been on my top artist list since college.

Matthew Perryman Jones’ catalogue is too extensive that to actually write a review of this giveaway would be futile. It lands squarely in the singer/songwriter/folk/pop/rock categories and his voice is… his voice is like polished wood, comforting and familiar yet imbued with wisdom. The first album I bought, Throwing Punches in the Dark, was part of my introduction to folk rock and it continues to be my preferred genre. If you don’t listen to the whole free download, check out the following songs to decide if it’s worth it for you.

Click the Picture or THIS LINK for the free download

10 and 35. Beneath The Silver Moon (Throwing Punches in the Dark) – written for his father who (I believe) got dimensia, this song is a powerful benediction of sorts on a life well lived. When he played a show in Columbus a couple years ago, he shared that he hadn’t played the song since his fathers funeral but he played it that night, in honor of one of the attendees. It was a moving experience.

17. When it Falls Apart (Swallow the Sea) – a perfect little pop song that has a sing-a-long chorus and despite the upbeat light music, lyrically it packs truth.

18. Feels Like Letting Go (Swallow the Sea) – this song encapsulates a lot of the beauty of Matthew Perryman Jones music for me. It musically hits the right spot, not too mellow and building to an emotional climax. Ultimately it’s a song about freedom. “I know that in the dark, there’s a fear of letting go. I know that in my heart, that I fear what I don’t know. And this feels like i’m letting go.”

9 and 26. Echoes of Eden (Throwing Punches/The Distance In Between) – one my all time favorite MPJ songs, both versions are killer. I love the drum beat that the original (9) begins with; combined with sparse instrumentation, it makes it even more effective when the song erupts with music. The remake (26) strips the song, giving it a totally different minimalist feel that still works. “My father told me as I grew older, son to keep on finding faces in the clouds. And dance with mystery and as she holds me she may whisper her secrets in the shroud. And I am listening now.” I wish I could write lyrics like that.

28. Until the Dawn Appears – I love this song for it’s old Johnny Cash gospel sound and for the beautiful backing vocals (Lori Chaffer, whose husband produced the album). The lyrics ache with longing. When he sings “when the shadows will be gone and all these bitter tears, well my heart will hang on that until the dawn appears, O how long?” I believe him.

13 and 30. Save You (Swallow the Sea and Until the Dawn Appears) – this song was probably the first of MPJ’s songs to hit mainstream of any sorts. It is elusive lyrically yet evocative; to this day I don’t really know what he is singing about but the originally poppy version and the slowed down remake ooze with something that hits close to home.

34. Homage to the Suffering (Until the Dawn Appears) – I am a sucker for slowed down, beautiful music. The words and music ache with longing and hope without offering an answer. Sometimes it is good to leave the questions hanging so we can dive deep into the question to find the answer on our own.

39. O Theo (Land of the Living) – I realize these are a lot of slow songs. I love this song for the vague imagery that makes me wonder what the heck it is about. Inspired by letters from Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo, I think this song is beautiful.

41. Waking Up the Dead (Land of the Living) and 45. Land of the Living – Both of these songs explode with hope, energy, and joy. Their defiant, evocative imagery is some of his best songwriting. “I want to dance on fire and be born again. I can hear the voice that’s waking up the dead.” Indeed. “You cannot love in moderation,  Dancing with a dead man’s bones, Lay your soul on the threshing floor. I am coming home. I am coming home.”

46. Where the Road Meets the Sun (Duet with Katie Herzig) – I think his duets are absolutely beautiful. Katie Herzig has a unique, gorgeous voice and the duet of the two is more than the sum of it’s parts.