I believe one of the reasons we are put on this earth is to say thank
you. —Richard Thompson
Born and raised in the outskirts of Chicago, Matthew Hope absorbed many different musical traditions at a very young age. Music was central to his existence in a world full of sound but without sight. His exceptional sensitivity to the sonic world has given him a unique perception of the nuances of everyday experiences, which show up in his music as familiar vividness. His music is the fusion of alternative sounds with the familiarity of nostalgic folk traditions. His breathy vocals and intricate acoustic guitar work recall a more hopeful Nick Drake or Elliott Smith.
With one foot in the dark brooding sounds of the Minneapolis underground and the other obsessed with writing idealistically about life and love, Matthew has created a nostalgic sound that is not easily forgotten. Time and time again fans say that his voice draws them in. As he shifts from dark to light, from bitter to jubilant, from weary to enthusiastic, he seems to effortlessly keep his fans in anticipatory, bittersweet enchantment.
Backed by a full band, Matthew's lush Black Tea Nights blossomed in the studio and brought the nuances of his acoustic writing into a more marked, distinct forum; Matthew's coffee-shop fans will certainly find great pleasure as his acoustic songs come to life in this album.
Matthew is now based in the Twin Cities.
Black Tea Nights
Black Tea Nights is a true neo-folk effort, capturing the bittersweet mood of British and American singer-songwriters of the early 70's. Matthew Hope keeps the music up to date with the inclusion of guitar drones and the ambient textures of keyboards and organic strings. The title track is immediately distinctive, its haunting vocals and catchy chorus being the obvious choice for a first single. Another highlight, When I'm Gone, seems a classic Americana ballad, enhanced by pedal steel. The Woman I Love is Crazy is a bouncy folk-rock ditty full of twanging guitars, recalling the Byrds at their most light hearted. A worthy addition to any collection of contemporary folk music.
For the past few years, artists such as Iron and Wine, Jeremy Messersmith, and Ben Sollee, have continued the American tradition of sculpting simple poetry to subtle folk melodies. Combining the sounds of acoustic instruments and experimental techniques, along with adding a pop-style hook, Matthew's album is an innovative step forward in the neo folk revolution.
Many of these studio arrangements feature established local talent, including Chris Koza and Joanna James, with inspiring results. Tom Herbers skilled production accentuates the raw emotion of Matthew's voice alongside his unique melodic phrasing on acoustic guitar. To especially astute folk fans, Black Tea Nights feels like it should be familiar; each song sounds like a folk classic you've never heard before.
I have a BA in guitar performance from the University of Saint Thomas, and I'm well versed in many different musical styles, including folk, rock, classical, and blues. Feel free to contact me to set up a time to meet, or to find out more about what he can offer you; I'm available for half hour or one hour lessons.