Review: Matt Lovell finds his way on soothing 9-track album
Matt Lovell, 'œNobody Cries Today'ť (Tone Tree Music)
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Matt Lovell has tapped gospel, soul and other influences in a gently impressive nine-song debut album called 'œNobody Cries Today.'ť
With an eclectic sound that evokes Amos Lee as much as anybody, Lovell lends his smooth tenor to well-crafted and soulful songs about love, loss and finding his way in a complicated world.
It's a promising if not especially groundbreaking debut for a singer willing to range around with confidence even when he's wrestling with complicated subjects. The songs, written and recorded over a period of eight years, hold together in a soothing package that conveys a healthy disregard for musical boundaries.
They also reflect a journey of self-discovery and trauma. Lovell writes in notes for the album that he spent some of that time looking for self-acceptance as a gay man living in the South, which he hints was a complicated journey. He also says he nearly died after being shot in the chest during a carjacking in 2017, delaying the album's completion.
For whatever turmoil he was dealing with, though, Lovell's gentle spirit shines throughout. From the slow-roll gospel cuts, 'œBe Free'ť and 'œThe Gospel'ť to the nostalgic closer 'œThe Way That It Was,'ť he always sounds at peace with himself.
Lovell's wheelhouse is blue-eyed soul, but the mix regularly suggests a variety of influences. On 'œ90 Proof,'ť one of the album's best cuts, Lovell frames a country lyric worthy of Nashville against the backdrop of an elegant ballad. 'œI got 90 proof that I ain't over you,'ť he sings, 'œand I'm an honest drunk tonight.'ť
It's the kind of juxtaposition that keeps things interesting - and elevates the work of a fresh new talent.