Matthew Szlachetka contacted us a while back and from my first listen to his album I got that “peaceful easy feeling.” His songs bring back images of ordinary life like going for a drive, or sitting across from a date in a restaurant. Matthew’s songwriting is that rare kind that rises above the cliché, but remains accessible for the ordinary listener. Waits for a Storm to Find is a good album and deserves your attention.
When I first saw Matthew’s Songcloud with tags from classic Americana artists, I thought “wow, that’s ambitious.” I know – judgey me. But honestly, once I got listening to the opener “Wasting Time” I found a lot to like. It sounds like good classic rock. Full sound, good guitars, quality vocals, and a sort of Springsteen-meets-Henley sound. My toes tapped. I smiled.
Nd I see you now” is a little more of the Americana alt country sound in the vein of Jason Isbell’s Southeastern last year. The emphasis is on the lyrics and inflection more than the sound. “I see you now tryin’ to break me down… I see you now, gonna fix it somehow.” What I like about the song is that it’s about the complexity of relationships without sounding boiler plate or cheesy. The steel guitar dances in the background providing just the right amount of twang without overdoing the track. It’s good.
“Come Home for December” is stripped down and plain. It’s simple in its construction, but not in its content. It’s probably the best song on the entire album because of that simple structure. It’s about drinking, music, and familiarity. It’s a sort of anti-Christmas song about being together after a separation. I think its infinitely human – and I really like that about it.
“I can’t look at your face” is the “WOW!” track on the album for me in that it channels some pretty serious Stevie Ray Vaughn-style blues. It’s not the incredible guitars, necessarily, but it’s the bluesy swagger that is rare in a lot of typical rock acts. The harmonic vocals give the entire sound an uplift. The minor turns and Hammond organ… whew, baby, I’d love to hear this jam live! It’s a classic, for sure.
“Carry Me Home” is a completely different genre than the others on the album. Honestly, I’d love to hear a full album from Matthew with this sound. It’s a traditional singer songwriter style. The harmonies are great, the song mood is comfortable, and it all comes together nicely. “Music that speaks to you close to your heart is the same as a lover who never wants to leave.” Ain’t that the truth!
Just when you thought you had Matthew Szlachetka’s sound figured out, he hits you with another wrinkle. “Back into your heart” sounds like Billy Joel could have written it. Heavy on piano and class, it’s just the kind of song that helps you reminisce that special someone. Then “All These Lines” has just as much swagger but in a completely different way. The acoustic guitar sings beautifully. Matthew’s lead vocals on the track are some of the best on the album. A little bit pop and a lot of heart, it’s an endearing track that is sure to bring in fans of artists like Jason Mraz or Ben Harper.
“Threw You Away in Los Angeles” has a pop rock feel to it. With a touch of the early 90s and a little dose of the mid-70s, the song is a nice summary of Matthew’s overall sound. It’s real, raw, and diverse. “It’s way too long, but I’m movin’ on.” I’m eager to hear where Matthew moves on from this exciting and engaging LP.
All told, Matthew Szlachetka is for fans of good, diverse rock music. It’s clear that he has mastered the art of the American rock song. It will be interesting to hear how he continues to grow and evolve, especially to see if he hones in on one of the styles he covers here or if he will choose to keep a diverse approach. He seems like the kind of artist that would put on a great live show with a completely different feel in each track. No one will accuse him of all his tracks sounding the same. Fans of Americana along the vein of Jason Isbell or Marc Broussard should give Matthew Szlachetka a spin. He’s a wonderful, well-rounded Americana and rock singer songwriter.