When Scott Matthews first hit the scene with his debut album ‘Passing Stranger’ in 2006, he was met with critics who deemed him the new Jeff Buckley(so no initial pressure then). With the release of his third studio album, ‘What The Night Delivers’, produced by Jon Cotton who also worked on the award winning Passing Stranger, Matthews is out on tour and I sneak along to Cardiff’s Glee Club to watch.
Scott takes to the stage, the minute he opens his mouth and boom the audience is captivated by his haunting voice, there seems some distance an almost vacant look to Matthews stance, as if he’s not totally secure in being stood up on the stage in front of what is a relatively small crowd. Maybe it’s the intimacy of the gig that puts the man slightly on edge. Unneeded apologises come from Mattthews a setlist featuring a majority of new songs and not too much in the way of the ‘Passing Stranger’ hits.But no need to apologise as what Matthews has up his sleeve is a selection of well crafted and impressive songs.
The musical arrangements on ‘Ballerina Lake’ shows how blessed Matthews is with his sultry voice, ‘Bad Apple’ along with his Tennessee sound becomes my firm favourite of his new songs with his roll off the tongue lyrics, ‘stagnated with a fist of regret, no longer a tasty pursuit’ that bring a smile to face at this man’s ability as a top notch writer. ‘Walking home in the rain’ reveals some impressive guitar techniques and really shows how Matthews voice is in itself a musical instrument, completely seducing and embracing. As the night draws on some heckling woman shouts from the crowd, ‘play something happy’, to which he replies. ‘I’ll get my Beyonce CD shall I?’ and then he burst into the recognisable ‘Passing Stranger’. Feeling more at ease with himself Matthews really begins to relax, trying to set the scene with some dimmed lighting, the less than on the ball lighting engineer plunges the whole venue into darkness and Matthews laughs ‘that’s the ultimate fuck you isn’t it?’
Although an Ivor Novello winner for his song ‘Elusive’, and initial coverage by the big names in music media,three albums in Matthews still feels like a best kept secret and a bit of a hidden gem. A prodigious songwriter, using his voice to captivate an audience, I almost admire his vulnerability, something I feel is a benefit to his song writing talent, fans will be eagerly awaiting news of his next album.