What's Mather up to?

First Review of OLD RECORDS! 

I'm happy to announce the new album "Old Records" is finished and the first album review came in this morning ~ Check it out!

Justin Mather (2014)
            Justin Mather is a lucky man.  He shouts this fact out in the fifth track on his new album OLD RECORDS.  Lucky Man is a celebratory ballad, uplifting and tender at the same time.  Mather is sharing his Nevada-based happiness with us here, bringing the listener alongside him for the ride rather than crooning his good fortune from some rock & roll pedestal in the clouds.  This multifaceted album, the Western Massachusetts-born singer-songwriter’s fourth, begins with a bang.  Maybe Mather’s eagerness to get the feel-good opener America going resulted in the jarring start to the tune.  No matter how many times I listen, it feels like I missed a few opening notes that don’t actually exist.  However the spirited, lyrical beauty of this song quickly makes this initial glitch irrelevant.  Mather comes out the gate singing at his best here, his voice buoyed with emotional depth, urging us to listen to his words of praise for our nation’s heartland, a place he “must have seen before on TV” before visiting the “tall grass prairie paradise”. 
            The lyrics shine all across this album, exemplifying Justin’s songwriting style, one that combines earthy realism with the kind of depth of feeling so often avoided in the glitzy limelight of the music world.  Get Down keeps the ball rolling nicely, opening with exuberant harmonicas.  Here Mather delves as far as he ever will into down home country rock; this driving tune with a pounding beat has my feet wanting to stomp and my hands poised to clap along by the end.  The low point in OLD RECORDS comes early.  Love In My Heart just doesn’t work for this reviewer.  The vocals stray into notes that feel off in some essential way.  That said, the catchy lyrics and bright melodies almost rescue it entirely.  A hard rocking version of an old Mather classic Little House In Vegas is next.  “It’s a wide world, and there’s no stop signs on the road of love,” Mather belts out, seemingly in the middle of figuring this truth out while singing the words.  And we realize his life metaphor is spot on. 
            Then comes Lucky Man, with its infectious chorus.  “Time on my side, angel in my bed.  When money’s tight, she understands.  When I get home, I’m gonna tell her how lucky I am.”  Sometimes a song gets stuck in your head.  Lucky Man does, and you’re happy it’s there.  When the peak of an album reaches this high of a level, it can be hard to attain similar heights for the rest of the way, but OLD RECORDS refuses to disappoint.  The diversity of styles continues throughout, Mather dancing around numerous genres without getting stuck within any specific one.  There’s the throbbing, road tripping tune Wickenburg, followed by a pleasing instrumental track.  Never Settle Down is one other song that misses its target, never seeming to become what it wants to be, mostly just coming off as too loud.  Some of the best songwriting in the album can be found in the final two selections.  Long Time Comin’ is a musical depth charge that works its way into your bones.  Then the title track makes for an apt finale, with its light, laid back, Sunday-morning-at-home vibe.  Wherever I happen to be when I listen to OLD RECORDS, the time flies.  And a few hours later I just want to hit play again.   

Novelist and hops farmer from Upstate New York

Studio Footage - 2014 

Check out the new video of us recording in the studio!  We put together a collection of footage from the Tone Factory and even some from Mather's home studio - so you can see the recording process.  Click on the Video tab and enjoy!

Wrapping up new album "America"  Podcast

We are wrapping up the recording of my new album "America".  A couple of these tunes I recorded over 2 years ago but the majority were done this past June at the Tone Factory.  Vinnie Castaldo is the owner/engineer and does an amazing job producing and engineering. Also a great drummer - he played drums on most of the tracks.  I am blown away and humbled by the amazing talent that came into the studio to contribute to these songs: long time bandmates Carlos Guerrero and Steve Bonacci laid their parts on guitar and bass,  Buzz Evans on pedal steel,  Joel Ferguson on pedal steel and dobro, Tristan Moyer on fiddle/vocals, Andy Frasco on piano and vocals and Paul Campanella Jr. on drums - to name a few.  We are in the mixing stage now and expecting to have the album completed and available by the end of August.  

In the meantime download your complimentary copy of "Get Down" one of the first tracks we recorded - featuring Carlos Guerrero, Buzz Evans, Andy Frasco and Paul Campanella Jr.  Talk soon!   
  1. Get Down


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