Matt Epp has led a life that more or less seems to revolve around music. He isn’t a musician that dabbles in everything from digital photography to painting while trying to make a living from it. Epp has released eight albums, and has toured around the world playing his music and doesn’t seem to be slowing down one bit as he just released Ready In Time.
The first thing I noticed about Ready In Time is the stellar production. When you think about music that is feasible for national radio play Ready In Time passes that test with flying colors. The music is warm and every element sit perfectly in the mix. It’s also nice to listen to an album where you can actually hear the lyrics.
I should note that for those who maybe interested in checking out his back catalog he has changed his style quite a bit. Epp used to make music that was minimal, revolving around little more than an acoustic guitar. He leaned towards a country, melancholy singer/songwriter vibe and occasionally added more elements to his music. I have to admit that I really loved some of his older material so encourage you to check it out.
Epp kind of like Taylor Swift has transitioned into pop music. The melancholy is mostly gone and is replaced with upbeat pop songs that have an affinity towards the elements of rock. Epp utilizes a fairly standard palette of guitars, bass, drum, piano and of course vocals. Ready in Time is a diverse album but not so much in style but intensity and delivery. There is something about some of these songs that feels contemporary but also has elements of 80’s rock. For a number of reason I was reminded me of Bryan Adams, the song “jessie's girl “, and even Bon Jovi.
The highlights not that surprisingly were the songs that veered towards the singer/songwriter style like the opener “Aftermath”. The guitar and piano work is exceptional and Epp sounds heartfelt and honest. Another highlight was “Hard To Say.” It’s a gorgeous song that revolves around inspired lyrics, organ and acoustic guitar.
I think many people would agree with me that Epp sounds best with a tinge of sadness. Songs like “Let Her Know” while having some decent moments also have parts that sound too much like predictable bubblegum pop that is marketed towards a very general demographic. It feels like Epp is trying a bit too hard to appeal to everyone under the sun.
Luckily, there are more songs that work then don’t. “Cash and Blood” has a light UB40 type vibe while the closer “North Star” contains a number of inspired melodies.
I think it fair to say that Epp’s departure from songs like “This Old House” and “On My Way” may cause a rift in his fanbase. There will be those who embrace it and those who may not. The great thing about an artist with this many songs is that there is plenty to chose from .
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