Matthew Alexander

 

Thanks to all who were in attendance at the Visulite Theater on March 18th for my CD Celebration. The evening was a huge success. Playing with a full band was a great experience and brought high energy to all of the songs. Kudos to Tim Murray on lead guitar, Ron Brendle on electric bass, Mark Stallings on keyboards and Andrew Marcadis all of whom did a fantastic job backing me up. Photos and video from the show are forthcoming so please be on the lookout.

Next gig on the horizon is the Tosco Beatles Tribute Concert on June 18th at the Knight Theater in downtown Charlotte. John Tosco carefully selects an eclectic line-up of musicians for this yearly event, each of whom gets to play their interpretation of one Beatles’ song. I am keeping mine a secret but will reveal that it will be a folk arrangement of one of their earliest “masterpieces.” I think you can tell I am a huge Beatles fan.

Finally I am back in the studio putting down initial tracks for a new CD. I am working with the wonderful Fred Story who produced and performed extensively on my record “Daredevil Angel.” It is great to be working with Fred again in his beautiful Concentrix Music and Design Studio.

I am excited about the upcoming “CD Celebration” at the Visulite Theater on March 18th 2016 in Charlotte North Carolina. I am happy to announce that I will be backed by veteran musicians Ron Brendle on bass, Tim Murray on second guitar, Andrews Marcadis on drums and Mark Stallings on keyboards and will be featuring songs from my new CD “Three Minute Movie” as well as my previous five CDs. Also, I am excited to announce that I am currently working with famed  Charlotte producer and arranger Fred Story on recording songs for a new yet- to- be named CD.

Thanks to everyone who attended my sold out show at the Evening Muse on November 13th. There was magic in the air and a good time was had by all. Please check the gallery for photos from this show and my schedule for upcoming performances over the next six months. In other news, my song “If You Didn’t Know Me” has been in steady rotation on WSGE in Belmont/Gastonia, North Carolina. 2015 has been a great year and I have high hopes for 2016!

Please check out the recent article about my song "If You Didn't Know Me' which appeared in the October 22nd copy of the Charlotte Observer. You can find it in the press release section of this website. Also please be on the lookout for the music video for the title track of my new album Three Minute Movie. It drops on You Tube on November 1st! 

www.charlotteobserver.com/living/health-family/karen-garloch/article40490301.html

The date of my CD Release party is getting closer (November 13th at the Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC), In preparation, I have just released a YouTube video for the song “If You Didn’t Know Me” and will be releasing the video for “Three Minute Movie” on November 1st. You can view the new video by going to my video page on this website or else by searching for it by song title and my name at YouTube.  I will also be on the air this coming Friday, October 16th  on WSGE (91.7 FM) from 10;15 to 10:35 accompanied  by my back-up guitarist Tim Murray. You can also stream the show by going to http://tunein.com/radio/WSGE-917-s22778/ Hope you can tune in!

The music video for “If You Didn’t Know Me’ is set to be released soon!

Rehearsals have begun for the CD Release party on November 13th, 2015 at the Evening Muse. I am encouraging folks to get advance tickets (www.eveningmuse.com) as I am expecting a sold out show. I will be backed by the stellar guitar player Tim Murray and outstanding bass player Ron Brendle both of whom have played behind numerous well-known artists throughout the years. Please stay posted and get your tickets early!

Please check out my upcoming shows on my calendar page. Also, music videos from two of the songs on my new CD are getting ready to be released. The video for Three Minute Movie will be released on YouTube in mid-September and the video for If You Didn’t Know Me will be released in mid-October. Promotional materials to publicize the formal release of the new CD on November 13th at the Evening Muse are also being sent out! More to follow.

Gigs are being finalized for promotion of the new CD.

Please save Wednesday November 13, 2015 for the formal CD Release party at the Evening Muse in Charlotte, North Carolina. Doors open at 7:00 and the show begins at 8:00.  The CD will be celebrated at a house party where Matthew Alexander and his trio will be performed live on November 25th (details to follow). Another CD celebration will occur at the Visulite Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina featuring a full band. Please stay tuned for more gigs as they arise.

New YouTube Channel Coming!

Working with the talented Sam Askew to set up a You Tube channel for Matthew Alexander which will include past music videos and live concert footage as well as 2 music videos from the new CD, namely one for "Three Minute Movie" and one for "If You DIdn't Know Me"

The artwork is now complete for my new CD Three Minute Movie.

Please go to my Facebook page to view (www.facebook.com/matthew.alexander.musician) Many thanks to Carlo Pieroni and Carol Ann Wilson for the photography and design which so perfectly capture the feel and energy of the CD

Caravan Records has now become Dream27 records.

Same logo, same company, same staple of artists, different name.

THREE MINUTE MOVIE video shoot photos

Please check out the photos in my photo gallery to see photos from the recent video shoot for my upcoming single THREE MINUTE MOVIE. The CD containing this song is now in the production phase (artwork, photography, layout etc.) but will be available in 2015. Please stay posted and come to one of my upcoming gigs. Thanks!!!

New CD Coming Soon!

Matthew is currently in the studio working on a new CD of all original songs (well, he is including two covers, one of the classic Nat King Cole song, Rambling Rose, and one of the standard, Somewhere Beyond the Sea). The album will feature Matthew's guitar playing, intimate vocals and lyrics particularly attuned to psychological issues. The CD also features some of Charlotte's finest musicians including Ron Brendle and Mark Stallings. Tentative title: Three Minute Movie. Tentative Release Date: Stay posted. Tour: Stay tuned.
 
Please write Matthew at matthew@alexandertunes.com if you have any questions or want to pre-order. Thanks and happy listening.

Two Songs Co-Written with Cordula Davis!

Matthew has also co-written two songs with Cordula Davis whose debut hip-hop album is in the process of being made. Both songs originated as titles suggested by Matthew’s 9 year old daughter, Natalie Alexander, a budding writer in her own right. He continues to back his vocalist son, Ethan, on guitar at various venues in Charlotte. Please see Ethan Alexander sings Fly Me to the Moon on YouTube.

Three more songs added to Pandora!

Three more songs were recently added to Matthew Alexander Radio on Pandora. These three songs are:Immortality, Since I Met You Baby and Equinox, all from the American Boy CD. At present, 7 of Matthew’s songs are in rotation on Pandora. Matthew is planning to submit more songs to Pandora Radio soon from his CD, Daredevil Angel. Please stay posted.

Pandora Accepts Two New Songs

Pandora Radio has accepted two songs from Matthew’s 1999 release, American Boy. The two songs areWindrider and Old Love of Mine. These two songs should be uploaded onto Pandora by the end of April and will join the two songs already on Pandora, I Remember You and Erie Mountain Dew from Wishing I Had Wings (2011). Please check it out by going to Matthew Alexander Radio on Pandora Radio.

Charlotte Singer-Songwriter Finalist!

Matthew has been chosen as a finalist for Charlotte Singer-Songwriter of the Year. He will perform on February 25th at the Saloon in the NC Music Factory along with 7 other finalists. The 8 finalists get to perform three songs. The winner becomes this year's Charlotte Singer-Songwriter of the Year and performs at the Charlotte Music Awards in the Fall. It should be a great show!!! Tickets can be purchased at the door. Show starts at 7 pm and the doors open at 6:30. Seating is limited so get there early!!!

BIG NEWS!!!

Matthew Alexander's CD Wishing I Had Wings has been accepted into Pandora's Music Genome Project. Pandora is an Internet based free music streaming source which matches music to fit the taste of the listener. Bloomberg News recently reported that Pandora has surpassed XM-Sirius in terms of listenership. It is estimated, in fact, that Pandora currently has a listenership of 18 million (and growing). Once accepted, it takes about three months before Pandora decides which tracks from a given CD will be played after which the music is then available to be played on the air. Please stay tuned for the latest on this exciting development!
 
On the local front, please mark your calendars for January 19th, 2012 when Matthew will be performing an intimate "songwriters in the round" concert at the Summit Coffeehouse in Davidson, NC. If you haven't been to a "songwriters in the round" show, it is a real treat usually featuring three songwriters all of whom get to perform (in the round) and discuss 8 or more of their songs. The show will start at 8 pm. One of the other songwriters being featured that night is Rob McHale. The third songwriter is rumored to be the best female songwriter in the area. Please join us at this very special show!

PRESS RELEASE

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Matthew Alexander will be performing a rare solo gig at the Atherton Market at Atherton Mill (2104 South Blvd in Charlotte’s historic South End) on October 29th between 10 am and 2 pm. The gig will showcase Alexander’s newest CD, a re-release of his 1987 record Wishing I Had Wings. Wishing I Had Wings was recorded at Reflection Sound Studio, features many of North Carolina’s finest musicians (such as Jamie Hoover, Richard Putnam, David Johnson, Houston Roper and Debbie Dobbins) and was produced by Steve Haigler who has also worked with Natalie Merchant, the Pixies and the Connells.
 
Wishing I Had Wings showcases twelve original songs by Alexander as well as a standout cover version of the 50’s classic “I Remember You”. The LP received rave reviews at the time from  John Grooms of Creative Loafing who said that the record showcased a “crisp pop-folk flavor” and was “beautifully recorded”.
 
Wishing I Had Wings was remixed and remastered in 2010 and is ready for formal release on the 29th. The new CD features three bonus tracks recorded in the years since the original album and has begun to receive regional radio play.
 
As a performer, Alexander has opened for such luminaries as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt. He has performed throughout the USA including gigs at the Visulite Theater, Tosco Music Party, the Ark and Kenny’s Castaways. He will back himself up on six and twelve string guitars as well as the electric piano. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the performer who has been referred to by Creative Loafing as “Charlotte’s own melodic medicine man”!!

CD Release Party coming this Fall

Please stay tuned for a fall CD Release party for Wishing I Had Wings, location and date to be determined.
 
Also, Matthew has gone back into the studio to work on a new CD of all guitar based original instrumental songs.

Two music libraries have expressed interest in his work and the CD hopes to capitalize on this.

STAY TUNED!

Stay tuned for exciting news about the re-release of Wishing I Had Wings, CD release party, current reviews, and other updates coming soon!

Happy 2011!!!

Happy 2011!!! May your New Year be filled with music, laughter and fun.

Matthew Alexander Talks About Wishing I Had Wings (release date, 10/2011)

Matthew Alexander recently sat down with Caravan Records, Jennie Simon, for the following interview:


JH: Tell us a little bit about this record and how it was first made?


MA: The album was recorded in Studio A at Reflection Sound Studio in Charlotte, N.C. In 1987, when the record was made, Reflection was the studio in town and had an international reputation; REM, Aerosmith, James Brown, Robert Plant, Whitney Houston, Marti Jones and Don Dixon had all recorded there. I met with their lead engineer Steve Haigler and played him some demos I had made in Los Angeles. Haigler immediately put me in touch with Richard Putnam, a successful keyboardist and producer in his own right, with whom he had just formed a production company. Richard asked me to give him my best songs and I gave him about forty. He narrowed that choice down to the ten original songs on the disc but informed me that his acceptance to co-produce the record was conditional on my agreeing to record one of those songs, Wishing I Had Wings, which became the title track. Quite simply, he loved that particular song and refused to take on the project without its inclusion.
 
Studio A itself was a cavernous room with a big grand piano and huge mixing console. In 1987, recording studios were still like cathedrals to musicians. These were places that evoked awe (before Pro Tools democratized and de-mythologized the entire recording process) and the engineers and producers who worked within their walls were demi-gods.
 
JS: Can you tell me more about producers Steve Haigler and Richard Putnam?


MA: Steve Haigler has engineered for and produced countless well-known artists such as the Pixies, Bob Mould, the Connells, Billy Bragg and Natalie Merchant. He currently lives in upstate New York where he continues to produce major acts. Richard Putnam is an Emmy nominated composer, keyboardist and producer who has worked closely with hit Nashville songwriter Rick Bowles as well as legendary artists such as Lou Christie and James Brown.
 
JS: Who are the musicians playing with you on this disc?


MA: Well known Charlotte musician and producer, Jaimie Hoover (of the Spongetones), is playing bass and lead electric guitar. Richard Putnam plays piano and synthesizer and Houston Roper, who along with Richard was on the road for years with Nashville singer-songwriter Rick Bowles, plays drums. Charlotte- based chanteuse Debby Dobbins sings backup (you can hear her singing a duet with me on the song Counting the Hours) and multi-instrumentalist David Johnson is playing 6 string and high strung guitar, steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin and dobro.
 
David rarely leaves the North Carolina mountains where he lives so having him in session for two days in Charlotte was a real coup. He would hear any song once and then play the most amazing tracks immediately afterwards. To me, he was truly a “mountain Mozart”.
 
JS Why did you decide to re-release this record after all these years? 


MA:Only available on vinyl and cassette, few people had ever heard the disc. I had an audition with Warner Brothers Records in Nashville who agreed to listen to the record but when they “passed” on signing it, I got discouraged and began work on a second album (April Heart). Plus, as much as I had always like the music on the record, I thought the original mix was off…too much echo and buried vocals.  More than two decades later, however, I heard that Reflection Sound Studio might be going out of business (not the case, as it turned out). This news panicked me as I suddenly feared that the original tapes which had been stored there for more than two decades could be lost. I called the studio and asked them to retrieve the 2 inch masters. It took threemonths for the tapes to be found as they had been misplaced behind a console. The only reason they were ultimately located was because a water leak led them to look behind the console.
 
Given all the new technology that has emerged since the original recording, it only made sense to remix and remaster the record once the original 24 track tapes were found. Because the songs had been in storage so long, however, they had accumulated mold and had to literally be baked, yes baked, three times before a successful digital transfer could be made. When I first heard the remix, I was floored…I could hear so many sounds that I hadn’t ever heard on the original record. The songs breathed. It was like releasing something from stone.
 
JS: Besides the remix and remaster, are there any other differences between the original record and this CD?


MA: I never liked opening the record with the rock-oriented song Crying and so decided to re-sequence (i.e. re-order) these songs. Most consumers these days don’t listen to a CD in its entirety but as a child of the 60’s I think that listening to a record from beginning to end is an important part of the art form. I spent many hours figuring out how the songs on Wishing I Had Wings would best go together and think the new order is much more compelling than the original. Also, some of the songs have portions restored that had been edited out of the original record and I have added three bonus tracks recorded in the years since the original record was made. Finally, world renowned photographer Carlo Pieroni re-designed the entire CD so as to better reflect modern sensibilities.
 
JS: Tell us about some of the songs.


MA: I Remember You is one of my favorite songs from my childhood. It was written by Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer in 1941; reportedly, Mercer wrote it for Judy Garland with whom he was infatuated. The song has been recorded dozens of times and was a hit by yodeling Frank Ifield when I was about 12 years old. I thought it was fitting to open the CD with this song. Interestingly enough, when Wishing I Had Wings was first released in 1987, country music disc jockey Dave Campbell opened his commercial radio show (WLTC) every morning with my version of the song.
 
The World Just Keeps on Spinning Round was written while riding on the D train on my way from Manhattan to my high school in the Bronx. It was published in 1967 and held for a while by the 60’s pop group the Turtles who, unfortunately, never recorded it.
 
Tulsa Tomorrow began as a title. I was planning to lead a songwriter seminar in Ann Arbor, Michigan and came up with that title to use as a songwriting exercise. Each student would be asked to use that title as a prompt from which to write a song. The class never materialized but kept the title and wrote the song.MaryAnne, I Remember Well is a song that caught the attention of Los Angeles producer Emmett Rhodes who encouraged me to record it. Both songs speak to issues related to violence and retribution.
 
JS: This CD has a clear country influence. How did a New York native and folk music stylist such as you gravitate toward making such a disc? 


MA: Believe it or not, the first records I bought in NYC were all country 45s. I heard these songs on some obscure AM radio station and then purchased them at the Colony Music Store on Broadway and 49th Street. The very first record I ever bought was El Paso by Marty Robbins. Another early purchase was Steel Rail Blues, a Gordon Lightfoot song recorded by George Hamilton IV.
 
Of course, folk music and country music are “country cousins”. As for popular music, I have always been partial to classic American pop groups such as the Eagles, Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds who incorporate country and folk sounds into their music as did the Beatles and Stones! I am also a fan of solo artists such as Allison Kraus and Lyle Lovett who merge folk, country and bluegrass.
 
JS: You previously referenced three bonus tracks on this CD. Tell me about those.


MA: Sentenced to Life, like Tulsa Tomorrow, began as a title. I was reading an article about the Civil War. It described the incredible horror that surviving soldiers experienced when they encountered the sheer volume of dead soldiers on the battlefield. The article made the observation that the soldiers who survived the War were, in fact, “sentenced to life” in that they had to carry these memories with them for the rest of the life. Their situation seemed similar to all survivors of violence.
 
Erie Mountain Dew was written immediately after hearing Bill Monroe perform in New York City in the early 70s. It was recorded direct to a Tascam MSR-16 track tape machine in 1992 with musical back up from my long time music partner, Click Horning, a brilliant singer and songwriter in his own right.
 
Finally, Somewhere Down the Road Not Taken, also recorded direct to tape, was written by long time friend Jeff Crossan, a hit songwriter based in Nashville; this is the first recording of this particular song.
 
JS: Is there a theme to this disc?


MA: It is up to each listener to decide the themes they believe are explored in this record. But since you asked, here is one perspective. We live in a violent world. The CD tells multiple stories having to do with violence and its aftermath...a murder of a young mother in a car jacking; an impulsive killing of a work supervisor; the long lasting impact of child abuse and an execution of a man innocent of the crime for which he is being punished. However, each of these songs is immediately followed by a song that holds out the hope of resilience, transformation and transcendence. The most powerful and enduring source of hope and transcendence in this world is ultimately found in the experience of love, whether that love comes from another person or from an eternal force beyond our understanding.
 
JS: The disc has 13 tracks.  Aren’t you superstitious?


MA: No. I remember the title of an old Bert Jansch disc, Lucky Thirteen. That’s what I am hoping for.
 
JS: How does this record compare with your four other recordings (Early Recordings; April Heart: American Boy; Daredevil Angel)?


MA: It is more muscular. The bass and drum sound are fantastic and really ground the record. I also really like my vocal sound. I worked for a year with a singing coach, the late Harvey Woodruff, to prepare for recording this album.
 
JS: What’s next for you?


MA: We are planning a big CD release party later this year. I Remember You is going to be promoted as the first single from the CD and a performance schedule for the Matthew Alexander Band is being finalized. Also, I am currently writing instrumental songs for television and hope to do a vocal CD of brand new original songs sometime in the next year or so. 
 
JS: Well, thanks for taking the time to sit down with me. Best of luck with the re-release (24 years in the making) of Wishing I Had Wings.


MA: Thanks so much.

THIRD BONUS SONG ADDED

A third bonus song, Erie Mountain Dew, has been added to the upcoming re-release of Matthew's 1987 album, Wishing I Had Wings. The song was recorded live in the studio in 1992 as a duet. It features Matthew on lead vocals and acoustic guitar and legendary singer-songwriter, Click Horning, providing the harmony vocals and rhythm acoustic guitar. Work has begun in earnest, as well, for the re-design of the album for CD with Carlo Pieroni, who provided the original photography and creative direction for Matthew's previous CD, Daredevil Angel, involved in the creative re-design of Wishing I Had Wings. Plans are also in place for a big CD Re-Release party for Wishing I Had Wings featuring the Matthew Alexander Band in 2011. Please stay posted.

Re-Release of Wishing I Had Wings

Work is steadily progressing on the re-release of Matthew's 1987 album, WISHING I HAD WINGS, on CD. The record has already been digitally transferred from analog tape, remixed by Mike McGinnis at Concentrix Music and remastered by Dave Harris at Studio B Studios. Both Dave and Mike are masters at their respective arts. The digital modifications have vastly improved the sound and impact of the music which, in many ways, sounds as though it was recorded just yesterday. Matthew is in the process of re-designing the CD artwork and hopes for an early 2011 release date. The CD will include two never before heard bonus tracks. Early listenings suggest that this CD is a winner!

Standing Ovation for the Matthew Alexander Band

The Matthew Alexander Band received a rousing standing ovation at the end of a two set, house concert on May 1st. With the exception of an instrumental Beatles medley, Matthew performed all original songs from his CDs Daredevil AngelApril Heart and American Boy as well as several songs never before played live. He was backed by his bass player, Ken Knight, and guitarist extraordinaire, Tim Murray, who was sitting in for Robert Dulin. The concert was a benefit performance for the agency LifeSpan which helps children with developmental disabilities (www.lifespan.org). Special thanks to the hosts for the evening, Karen Dubose and Rick Werner, as well as the fans who drove all the way from Mooresville, N.C, to catch the show. You are the proverbial “bomb”! Please stay posted on this website for upcoming spring and summer shows.

SOLD OUT CROWD

The Matthew Alexander Band played to a sold out crowd at Halton Theater at the CPCC campus in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, April 17th. They were featured performers along with Livingston Taylor, Sloan Wainright, Songs of Water and Tim Sparks. Matthew's latest song "Three Minute Movie" received a rousing response from the audience. Please go to the gallery section to see photos from this exciting show.

Tosco Music Party a Go!

Tosco Music Party a go. The Matthew Alexander Band has been added to the line-up for the upcoming Tosco Music Party on April 17th. Please go to www.toscomusicparty.org for information about tickets, other performers, etc. Note: TMPs tend to sell out early so, if interested, please order your tickets ASAP.

Upcoming Shows

Please see the calendar page for exciting upcoming gigs in spring, 2010, including an intimate, limited-seating "house concert". As always, thanks for your support!!!

TOSCO PARTY UPDATE

Apologies to all who bought tickets to the Tosco Music Party which was canceled due to the inclement weather on January 30th, 2010. While the actual event itself will not be rescheduled, please be on the lookout for the Matthew Alexander Band to be featured at a future Tosco Music Party. Information about future Tosco Music Party events can be found at www.toscomusicparty.org

Happy Holidays!!

2009 has been a great year for my music with some wonderful reviews and extended air play on radio stations around the country. I hope it has been a great year for you, as well, and that 2010 is “out of the park”.
 
Upcoming Shows
 
Please come hear me perform at the Common Market in Plaza Midwood on January 16th, 2010 at 8:00 pm. I will be doing an hour long solo set opening for Tad Dreis. The address is: 2007 Commonwealth Avenue and the phone number is (704) 334-6209
 
And, please be sure to get your tickets for the Tosco Music Party, January 30th, 2010 (www.toscomusicparty.org). This event is held three times each year at the Halton Theater on the CPCC campus. The address is: 1206 Elizabeth Avenue and the phone is (704) 330-6534. If you haven’t been before, the TMP is a fantastic experience with musicians from all over the country performing one to two songs each. I will be backed by my band and have been allotted one song…so I need to make it count! Tickets sell out early so you might want to get yours as soon as you can.

Daredevil Angel has been added to 170 NPR and AAA radio stations

Daredevil Angel has been added to 170 NPR and AAA radio stations. Please stay posted for developments on these and other fronts.

New York City Backwoods getting radio play!

Monday June 15, 2009:  New York City Backwoods, one of the songs on Daredevil Angel, is currently being played on medium rotation on the following radio stations: KAXE, KAOS and WFCS. Please stay posted for future radio adds.

Enthusiastic Crowd at Holden Beach, NC Show

Matthew performed at the Paradise Cafe in Holden Beach, NC on the evening of Saturday, August 15th to a very enthusiastic crowd. Given the audience and ambience, he played alot of Jimmy Buffet as well as covers of Paul Simon, John Lennon and Kris Kristoferson songs.  He did slip in a few originals. His new sound system was a big success and photographs were taken by acclaimed fashion photographer (and brother-in-law) Carlo Pieroni. Please be on the look-out for postings on this site of these photos, hot off the proverbial press.Photos by Carlo PieroniMatthew Alexander at Paradise CafĂ©

Americana Charts and More!

Matthew Alexander's songs will soon be listed on the Americana Charts. He is expecting to pick up significant radio adds in Internet and local radio stations over the next three months. Also, major interviews with him are soon to be released in two music webzines, namely: All About Jazz (www.allaboutjazz.com) and Ink 19 (www.ink19.com). Matthew is presently booking a summer and fall concert schedule. Please stay posted to hear about exciting developments on all these fronts.

MATTHEW ALEXANDER RELEASES EARLIEST RECORDINGS

Singer-songwriter, Matthew Alexander, has just released a new CD entitled “Matt Alexander: Early Recordings 1967-1977.” The CD contains 19 original songs that had their origins as either home recordings or demos made for record and publishing companies during the formative years of his musical career. “I see this record as a fulfillment of a promise made to my younger self” he told me. “It amazes me that these original audio recordings, some as old as forty years, have finally made it onto a CD.  My stage name at the time I made these tapes was Matt Alexander and so I used that name for the disc.”

Getting the songs from audio tape to digital groove was not an easy task, Alexander says. “In the years between when these recordings were made and now, the reel-to-reel tapes on which they existed were carted around the country in cardboard boxes, stored in basements and closets, susceptible to moisture, mildew and extreme temperatures”. In order to restore them, Alexander had to utilize the services of a Canadian audiophile, Richard Hess, who specializes in restoring old recordings. “In many cases, he had to “bake” tapes and, in some cases, just let them sit in the open air for weeks at a time”. Since none of Alexander’s reel-to-reel tape recorders worked, he had not heard some of these recordings for four decades. “It was like opening a time vault to hear them again”.

The CD showcases Alexander’s original style of songwriting as well as his substantial talents as a guitarist and pianist. “I didn’t have the money to hire studio musicians so I played many of the instruments (bass, guitar and piano) myself.” The genres on the CD range from folk to folk-rock to country to classical. Perhaps the most arresting song is a song entitled “Bring Your Friends Home, David” a six and a half minute song about a young boy killed by a car in a freak accident. The song is written from the perspective of the grieving mother, flashes back and forth in time and has several tempo changes throughout. It is starkly performed with Alexander’s guitar, a second guitar and vocal.

“When I first played this song for my parents, my father, who was a classical composer, paid me the ultimate compliment and said that it reminded him musically of the great classical composer Schubert” Alexander told me. “The song attracted the interest of Lou Stallman, a prominent NYC music publisher who specialized, among other things, in novelty songs and who eventually published and produced the song” 

Alexander got the chance to play this song for his finger-picking, songwriting idol Paul Simon. “My sister-in-law was a student at NYU and she was able to get me into a songwriting class that Paul Simon offered at the time. As a newcomer to the class, he walked in, looked at me and asked me to play a couple of songs on my guitar. His comment on the first song I played (“Nancy’s on my Mind” which is showcased in Alexander’s recently released CD Daredevil Angel) was that I was a good finger picker. He then asked me to play a second song and I chose to play “Bring Your Friends Home, David” Alexander told me. “Despite the fact that it is a long song, Simon immediately suggested that I play it a second time. After the second time around, he asked each member of the class to say what they thought about the song”. At this point in the interview, Alexander tenses a bit before continuing with his story. “The other students’ reaction? Half the class loved the song and half the class hated it. Finally Paul opined dismissively that he thought it was maudlin and informed me that one should never write a song with a name in the title that was not a name of a real person (David was a fictional character). Simon then moved on to critique the next songwriter”. “Needless to say”, Alexander says, “ I have never forgotten this encounter”.

The disc includes demonstration recordings made in 1971 for the record company Musicor which produced, among other artists, Gene Pitney. “Musicor was owned by a father and son team. The son liked my songs enough that he brought me into the recording studio with a studio pianist to record four demos (Crying andGoing My Way are featured on Early Recordings). Unfortunately, his father was not impressed so that was the end of that”.

When Alexander moved to LA, he made the rounds of publishing houses. One of these publishing houses was Four Star Music. “I would go from publishing house to publishing house with my guitar and play my songs. I hit pay dirt one day when I walked into Four Star Music and played my songs for their A and R person, a young woman by the name of Jody, who loved them!”  Four Star Music went on to be publish three of Alexander’s songs “Counting the Hours”, Give It Away” and When We Say Goodbye” and helped him demo many others. “Back then, if your songs were published, the publishing company would record you in the studio, press acetates (i.e. vinyls) of the songs and arrange for formal lead sheets to be made. It was the royal treatment”, Alexander informed me. “I would sign reverse clauses which allowed me to keep the song if no one recorded it within a twelve month period which is why I now have these songs published with my own company, Rising Moon Music”.

The CD includes three original demos of songs that show up on Alexander’s critically acclaimed CDDaredevil Angel.
These are: “Shine”,” Right Now” and “When We Say Goodbye”.  The CD also includes a political song (“Reap What You Sow”), a Beatles inspired song (“Oh Beautiful One”) and several finger-picking beauties (“Baby I’m Trying to Find You” and “The Master Craftsman”). The last song on the CD (“Love is an Endless Road”) is Alexander’s favorite. “I love the feel of that recording…the vocal and instruments really breathe. When I hear the song, I am transported back in a time machine to my younger years traveling the long, sun-drenched roads of Los Angeles in search of the holy grail of a recording contract. While I initially wrote it about a girl friend, the song now fits my feelings about my children, Ethan (aged nine) and Natalie (aged five)”.

When I played Alexander’s new recording “Chattanooga Boogie” (on Daredevil Angel) immediately after “Love Is an Endless Road’, the vocal quality sounded eerily similar despite the thirty odd years separating the songs. Alexander tells me, “I advise aspiring musicians and songwriters to find your sound and keep doing it! Eventually the world will catch up with you!” Sound words of advice, indeed, from a most accomplished sound man!

Chosen to be the subject of a five part series!

Matthew Alexander has been chosen to be the subject of a five part series
in Solo Songwriter, an on-line music zine dedicated to the art of the song
(wwww.solosongwriter.wordpress.com). The series is entitled: Matthew
Alexander: A Musical Life in Five Chapters. Chapter One appears in the
first issue of the webzine, June 9th and includes an in-depth interview
with him regarding his new release Daredevil Angel. The series will focus
on Matthew's four decade career in the music business.

 

New CD Daredevil Angel now available!

Go to the music section of the site for information on how to purchase.

 


The first review of "Three Minute Movie" is in and it is a rave. Please check out on the reviews section of this website.

"Striking attention to the melody of the songs and the lyrics...brilliant guitar playing reminiscent of Mark Knopfler...marvelous and delicious."

Freddy Cellis, ROOTSTIME