I love it when an artist I've connected with previously reaches out to me. That means I've done something right.
Matt Eckstine contacted me back in late October about his sophomore album but I was prepping for a trip to IA and things just got pushed back. He's been kind enough to work with me and be my guest this entire week.
One thing I didn't get with Matt last time was an interview. In spite of my sluggishness, he has answered the questions in record time. ;-)
Thanks for contacting me about this new album and for sharing time with us here in KellysCountry!
1 - I’m sharing a couple things from you this week so first, let’s talk about the new album. Li’l Blue is your sophomore album. What makes this one different from your self-titled album in 2017?
My sophomore album "Lil' Blue" is different from my first self-titled album in quite a few ways actually.
"Lil' Blue" was recorded with a full band sound and had several musicians who contributed parts. This record was also a new batch of songs.
My first record titled under my name "Matt Eckstine" was completely acoustic takes in the studio of songs I planned to move forward with under my solo career. The band that I was the primary songwriter for "The Accomplices" had disbanded unexpectedly. I decided to cut some of my favorite tunes from that period and start from scratch.
The Accomplices decided to disband when two members of the band made the decision to move across the country. I decided to go into a studio a month after that decision and cut some acoustic songs to get started on the next page of my career.
3 - In what ways do you think you’ve grown since that first album?
In regard to how I’ve grown since my first solo record.... I believe I have honed my songwriting craft and have found my own identity in the solo career. It definitely took me a few years to learn how to work as a solo artist rather than being a band member. They are very different worlds, and now I feel like I know how to navigate both of those roles.
4 - On your airplay direct page for the first album you attribute your influences to Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson and John Prine. All great songwriters. Can you tell what your take-away was from each of those? What did you key in to specifically with each?
I'm not sure who set up the airplay direct actually.....but....good choices on those writers!
I was first introduced to John Prine from a friend who burned me a CD with a compilation of his catalog. I was just blown away by the lyrics and the feel of the music. I remember thinking "this guy had already done exactly what I think I'm going for!". That really provided me with a teacher to keep me grounded. I like to keep my songs fairly simple with concept, music, and character. Prine, Kristofferson, and Townes all had that quality. I equally spent a lot of time listening to Townes and studying his guitar and lyrical work. I went through a period of personal despair that I found a kindred spirit in Townes music. All of these guys mentioned are masters of their craft and I think it is important to study the masters and pay homage.
5 - I know what I hear when I listen to your music. Everyone is going to hear something different. What do you hear and want people to experience when they listen?
I hear the result of the process. Which is usually rewarding. I like to hear how an idea turns into a completed piece of music and then goes into a production mind frame. After that happens and a song is completed, I enjoy listening to the completed piece on a sunset drive out to the beach. Then I am on to the next tune!
For others: If the music brings you some form of joy that would make me happy. I know that musical taste is completely individual to the person. I think the people that get it will get it and that is wonderful!
I am not familiar with Amber McCue and the philosophy. However, I think I understand what that means.... I definitely feel like I am growing in the direction that I intended to move toward from 4 years back!
7 - Alive or dead, who would you love to sit and talk music with?
Alive --- I think I would enjoy talking about music and life with Todd Snider. I think he would be a good hang and definitely bridges the gap between my folk heroes of the past and present.
8 - We’ve all been locked down, shut in, whatever term you want to use. Many people are using this time to step out of their comfort zone and do that thing they’ve always dreamed of. For those thinking this is the time to kick off their music career, what advice would you give someone just starting out?
That is all it really takes. As easy as that is to say, it is a lot harder to actually do!
Great advice, Matt!
I'll be putting Li'l Blue on the turntable tomorrow so be sure to come back for that review.
In the mean time, here's a sample video for you: