If there’s a reason for Matt Henry not releasing an album until now, it’s that in the wrong hands, his music may have silently slipped away unnoticed. But noticed this is. Henry has been invited to Late Night Alt – within one of the longest running music festivals in Australia, Tamworth, to release his debut album Love without co-dependency. Shane Nicholson the musician turned sought after producer, has helped craft an album that is not confined to just country, but visits Americana and blues – safely in a large alt-country space.
The eleven tracks are littered with violin intros, harmonica prose, haunting lap steel and lightly touched piano – instrumental lyricists to Matt Henry’s carefully written-with-a-twist songs. Producer Nicholson has musically boosted the album to traverse a potentially broader listener base. Of note are the last four tracks – fragile instrumental numbers played oh so carefully, matching each delicate lyrical phrase. The ditty, Little dead bird gives a glint of Henry’s black humour – this is what listeners want to hear in songs; personality, originality – lyrics that produce a chuckle or make you want to deconstruct or de-code them. I died on a beautiful day follows with a Nick Cave-style piano ballad, barely there brushed snare drum with a steel string resonating in the background – just to remind us of Henry’s honed musical style. Way back home is a traveller’s reflection, complete with sermonic steel string creating its own conversation with Henry’s lyrics; “there’s a boy with an open heart/he and I found our way back home.”
The last song Half Moon Bay sings of “metaphors without a source,” further affirming that this album with its seriously beautiful instrumentals, poetic-with-a-poke lyrics, and Henry’s warm vocals, is refreshingly out of the ordinary and not dependent to any particular style.