Hot on the heels of the release of his new album, The Waking Hours, Matthew Perryman Jones returns to the City Winery in Chicago.
Molly Parden is no stranger to touring with Matthew Perryman Jones, having both shared this very stage a few years back, and this time she has the dual role of opening for him as well as later joining him on stage during his set on backing vocals and (tiny) synth. Molly had the room at the City Winery silent and totally attentive with her beautiful voice and, in true singer-songwriter style, her personal and very honest lyrics which focused heavily on relationships past and present.
Friday, September 21 saw both the release of Matthew’s new album and the kick off of the tour. The majority of the time you see Matthew Perryman Jones perform live, it is usually a one-man show with his trusty acoustic guitar. However, anyone going out to see him on this tour are in for a rare treat as he has left the acoustic behind, and is taking to the stage with his electric guitars. He is joined by Eric Cole on bass, Joshua Taylor (who played on and helped produce the album) on drums and Molly who returns to the stage to provide those beautiful Nashville harmonies.
The opening hour or so of the set focused primarily on songs from the new album and it was great to hear the way the band had arranged these to perform them live. The sound they created was huge, belying the fact that it was primarily a guitar, bass and drum set-up. There was also, of course, time put aside in the set for the old faithfuls. Going way, way back into his playing history, Matthew recalled when he used to live in Atlanta, and was surrounded by a number of emerging bands. One such band was REM, so for this trip down memory lane, the City Winery were treated to a performance of “Begin The Begin.” You could tell that he has performed this song a lot over the years, and it has to be said that for this performance his vocals bore a strong resemblance Michael Stipe’s on the original.
Around three-quarters of the way through the set the band left the stage, and Matthew remained alone to perform a few audience requests that were shouted out. Delving into his back catalog, cheers went up across the room as he played the beautiful song, “Amelia,” from his 2008 album, Swallow The Sea. He also “requested” one himself – “O Theo” which was one of the standouts from Land Of The Living. The lyrics for the track are based on Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo and are extremely poetic and evocative (which is a trademark for Matthew in a lot of his work).
There’s no better way of spending a Sunday evening than relaxing in beautiful surroundings, glass of wine in hand, while listening to such talented musicians. It’s been three years since Matthew’s last album, but it was worth the wait. Those of you who have followed his journey to make this album on PledgeMusic (or have read our recent interview with Matthew), know exactly how much has gone into creating this album. The Pledge campaign was a great peek behind the curtain of the creative process and the random twists and turns it can take. Now that this particular journey for Matthew has come to fruition, make sure you go and see these songs brought to life in front of you.
The night was brought to a conclusion with the song he chose to close out his new album, Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me.” It’s a song that has become such a staple in his live performances, it’s almost as if it’s become one of his own (and it is a truly wonderful take on a truly wonderful song).
The tour has only just started so you have plenty of opportunity to get yourself along to see this one. Check out the tour dates here.