As surprising as the glory of the beard that lives on Matt Moody's face is the sudden beginning of his most recent album, When I Get To The Fence. He's had a busy year as well, with two full albums and half-a-dozen singles released since February. Moody's live show often features his wife painting while he performs, a nod to her role in creating all of his album art. Since starting to make music, Moody's won best new record from The Nashville Scene and had a single featured in a Mercedes-Benz ad. When he's not working on his own music, he plays with By Lightning, a band that’s had their music in a Subaru ad and has played at Bonnaroo.
He recorded, mixed, and performed almost everything on the album himself at his studio with the occasional special guest. The whole album was then sent off to Battle Tapes in Nashville, where Moody is based, to be mastered by Jeremy Ferguson.
As to the sound he's created? It sounds like the Beatles by way of Nashville and it works brilliantly; specifically, the 67-70's era Beatles. His voice is distinct, but it's often treated with just a hint of overdrive and has enough feeling to almost maybe be Lennon-ish. The songs are full of meaning as well. Moody thought about what it is he was writing about and did a good job saying what he wanted to. His melodies suit the music perfectly; nothing feels forced at all. Even guitar solos, which I'm generally very suspicious of, feel well placed and written. There isn't any pretention in them. They're the result of a real climax within the song structure.
To my ears, the standout tracks on the album are absolutely "This Trap" and "There On A Hill.” The first is a perfect replica of early 70's singer/songwriters and late 60's rock while the latter is simple, haunting, and feels remarkably like a song by Sean Lennon.
What we have here is an album that feels very deliberate in its execution, from the writing to the arrangements to the performances. These songs feel like they're from the past and just happened to end up being recorded in the wrong year.
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