Matty James, described on his website as “Part swashbuckling rocker, part acoustic balladeer, his style harks back to a bygone era when great songs and charisma triumphed over simply fitting a mould. With influences ranging from blues, folk, country, punk and rock n’ roll, the young troubadour has created a signature sound that draws listeners in from the off.” releases his third album The Road To No Town on 29th April via Pirate Heart Records / Cargo Records following a Pledge Music Campaign.
Originally from a small town in Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland, Matty James is a already an accomplished and versatile performer, playing guitar in his own band , bass guitar for the The Tyla J Pallas Band and drums in Cadaver Club. The Road To No Town is his third full length album in less than two years and follows Last One To Die and Cut To The Bone (although this was a limited edition only available at live shows). Matty plays most of the instruments on this album with brother Phil doing a guest spot on the mandolin and Pat McManus, also from Co. Fermanagh playing the fiddle. Production has been managed by Matty himself.
Often seen wearing a hat has he scored a hat-trick with this third album or is it really going to no town? On first listen the obvious comparison is to Tyla J Pallas, but I have some other observations, For the first and title track, The Road To No Town think of The Violent Femmes going down to Georgia to meet the Devil and The Charlie Daniels Band. Sticks and Stones, the first single to be released from the album, a gentle song with some powerful riffs and a country vibe. Heavy Heart another slow melodic one but somewhere in the middle some soaring riffs are thrown in, I’m thinking of some of the riffs in Dave Lee Roth’s Just Like Paradise.
In Oh My Darlin’ I thought of a dog although not Tyla and the Dogs D’Amour, but another hound dog, Huckleberry Hound, the song is short and sweet, at less than two and a half minutes, it’s like a punked up, rockabilly version of the song Oh My Darling, Clementine, a great one to get you up dancing and singing along! Win Or Lose, with a Hawaiian vibe, remined me of the song Cold, Cold Nights by Frankie Miller which features on Spike’s (Spike Gray from The Quireboys) album 100% Pure Frankie Miller. Gunpowder a rousing sea shanty with a bit of mean fiddling from Pat McManus. Money & The Devil starts a bit Stray Cat Strut by the Stray Cats then throw in a bit of brass, think of the song Big Spender as sung by Dame Shirley Bassey, mix with Singing The Blues by Guy Mitchell and you come out with Money & The Devil. Hold On another gentle acoustic song. Dissatisfied has a similar vibe to Oh My Darlin’ a fast rockabilly one which makes you want to jump up and dance. Then we come to no town, or the end of the road, for this particular album with the last song Cut With Dust a powerful ballad which put me in mind of Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney, but whether or not Matty will don a kilt and pick up the bagpipes at a gig I have no idea!
Lots of different elements make for an interesting listen and should keep you hooked from start to finish. Ballads, rockabilly songs, a sea shanty and some great sing along tracks. Recommended for fans of The Tyla J Pallas Band, Violent Femmes, The Pogues and The Charlie Daniels Band. See here for details of album launch shows in London and Manchester.
Highlight Track: Dissatisfied
1: The Road To No Town
2: Sticks & Stones (Album Version)
3: Heavy Heart
4: Oh My Darlin’
5: Win Or Lose
7: Money & The Devil
8: Hold On
10: Cut With Dust