Five Star Homeless
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Five Star Homeless

Band Americana Country


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Carolyn Mark's Folk on the Rocks festival story"

"So Dirty!" says Carolyn Mark, Singer/Songwriter/Reigning Queen of Canadian Country Music - Mint Records

"Saskatoon band blends rock, bluegrass, country sounds"

Ask Matty Griffith what he wants to do with his life, and he'll give you a straight answer: make music.
It's not surprising, then, that the singer, Acoustic guitarist and six string banjo player wrote most of the songs on the new Five Star Homeless disc. Comfortable Distance.
"The only way my parents could get me to bed untill I was about eight was with the anticipation of singing songs in bed," Griffith recalls.
"My mom and I used to do the harmony thing, and that's when I really became aware of how beautiful music could be that I could create myself."
Today as frontman for one of Saskatoon's best local bands, Griffith is still creating beautiful music. For those of you unaware of Five Star Homeless, a self-described "high energy roots quintet," let's just say the bands bio doesn't mince words. - Shannon Boklaschuk, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"Lost Wages Review"

Yorkton This Week
Jan.23, 2008

Five Star Homeless
It's always refreshing to find a hot folk/Americana band that hails from our home province of Saskatchewan, and that's exactly the case with Five Star Homeless, a strong roots-based trio out of Saskatoon.
Five Star Homeless has a bit more 'beat' to some of their folk interpretations (such as the song Better Things) than other bands which fit snugly into the genre, but it's still clearly roots music, and that simply means this trio knows how to to expand the boundaries a bit.
I like how these guys approach their craft. There is a definite energy to what they are laying down for the listener, and that energy is infectious. It's always good when a band draws you in to their world, and Five Star Homeless does it skillfully.
While these guys do punch it up a bit, this is still the music of Prairie soul, and it comes through on cuts such as Likes of Him, which is my personal favourite on the CD. That said this is a solid effort through all 10 cuts.
Dirty Old Town should be on country radio too.
The band features Matt Griffith on vocals and acoustic guitar, Harley Hoeft on bass fiddle and vocals, and Robin Pereia, organ, accordion and again vocals. All three contribute vocally adding to the depth of the work.
Check these guys out at, and if you like roots music at all, support this Saskatchewan band.
- Yorkton This Week


For Five Star Homeless, bluegrass is in the blood.

"We all come from rural backgrounds,"vocalist Matt Griffiths says. "It's really the music of the prairies."

The four-piece (Griffiths, bassist Devin "Harley'" Hoeft, guitarist Guy Perrin, and drummer Ryan Ripka) has been playing their own brand of roots and country across Canada for the past six years. But though their music reveals an obvious shared love of roots and bluegrass, the manner in which each member came to the genres is varied. While Hoeft was raised on his grandparents' collection of roots rock, and even met Johnny Cash (although he's quick to say, "I was six months old. It doesn't count."), for example, Griffith's earliest exposure to music was far from country.

"The most avante-garde thing in my house was Nat King Cole,"? he laughs. "Oh, and Abba. I know a lot of Abba."

However, once Griffith found bluegrass, there was no looking back. He'd spent years busking ("honing,"? he says very seriously), but in 2000, he formed Five Star Homeless with drummer Ryan Lipka, formerly of Saskatoon band Chogga. The line-up has changed over the years, but the passion hasn't.

"I think we're expanding as musicians," Hoeft says."Getting better, definitely. But the sound hasn't changed that much"

They've kept their sound constant over several recordings, having released an EP and two studio albums, with the most recent being Lost Wages, which came out in June of this year.

"We don't always acknowledge that first EP,"? Griffiths laughs. "It's a bit lo-fi."?

Though the band may be less than completely satisfied with that first offering, their subsequent albums are definitely something to be proud of. Combining bluegrass, roots, and country, the albums offer a collection of intriguing prairie stories and spinning melodic lines. Five Star Homeless may be touted in some circles as alt country, but when it comes down to it, these boys are old school. The music is reminiscent of American folk and early country, drawing on the traditions of Nashville and the Appalachians.

In such firmly established genres, the temptation to simply repeat the past is often strong. However, though Five Star Homeless certainly reflect the proud tradition of their chosen style, their music is by no means generic or formulaic. Instead, an emphasis on carefully crafted songs and accomplished musicianship gives the group's work a freshness that vibrantly marries the old with the new. Indeed, when asked if they sometimes feels trapped by genre, the band is quick to explain the creative possibilities within their sound.

"We never do a straight bluegrass song or country song," Hoeft says. "We're not interested in being in a bubble. That sounds strange considering what we play, but if something starts sounding too traditional, we usually end up doing something crazy to it."

"There are strict rules,"? Griffiths adds. "But we mix them up. We have some base guidelines."

"A pirate code, if you will,"? laughs Hoeft.

The band's lyrics follow a similar pattern definitely reflecting the genre they're based in, but presented in a unique, original way. Griffiths writes about very traditional bluegrass and country subjects (wives lost, lives drunk away), for example, but he does so with such affection for the people he writes about and with a wonderfully wry sense of humour throughout that the songs come out sweet instead of saccharine, dark instead of depressing.

"I write about the people I meet," Griffiths says. "In small towns, where we do a lot of touring, there are so many stories. Extraordinary people leading ordinary lives, and vice versa."

Though Griffiths is the primary songwriter for the group, he's very humble about his place in the band.

"I'm not much of a musician, unfortunately," he says. "I bring in the basics of a song and we collaborate like crazy. Every song is the band's song."

However, other members of the band are quick to prevent Griffiths from downplaying his place in the band too much.

"Lost Wages was funded almost entirely by Matt and [band manager] Erin [Sarauer]," Hoeft says. "Matt produced most of the album, too."?

Griffiths looks over at his bassist, grinning. "Why Harley, I never knew you felt that way."

Five Star Homeless toured out west this past fall, hitting spots on the coast, across the Rocky Mountains, and throughout Alberta.

"I think we hit every small town in Northern BC,"? Harley laughs. "The response was amazing, though."

For this particular tour the band was one member short, as drummer Ryan Lipka is pursuing an education degree and couldn't take the time off from school. Though he was sorely missed, the band made do.

"Really, with Harley slapping bass, we did all right," Griffith says.

In fact, in some places the absence of a drum set was advantageous - particularly in the smaller venues often found in small town Canada. One show that stands out particularly was a performance in Twin Buttes, a - by Caitlin Ward of Planet S Magazine

"Junos: the party is out there; Saskatoon gets infusion of fun."

One of the most entertaining discoveries to be made was rowdy, slightly punkish alt-country crew Five Star Homeless, which worked the upstairs room at Lydia's into a boozy sweat on Friday night.
- Ben Rayner, The Toronto Star

"Five Star Homeless - Comfortable Distance"

I remember when I opened the package that contained Comfortable Distance by Five Star Homeless. I was immediately ready to thoroughly hate it. With the onset of the “pop”ular country music in the 80's and 90's, I had become a hardcore advocate for the quick and painless elimination of all country music. I'm glad that back then, much like now, no one took me seriously!

Although Five Star Homeless is without question a country music band, and of course this a country music CD, I was quite amazed to find that I actually enjoy listening to it.

“But why Derrick, why?” I can hear the more curious and annoying amongst you ask even as I type the lines, “Why would he, hater of all that is country, suddenly spring this revelation upon us?” The answer is simple.

I hated much of the country music released over the last 20 years because I found it trying to hard to be “catchy”, it was laced with “clever” little sayings (do I really need to go into my Ride A Cowboy tirade?) and quite frankly there wasn't one lick of originality to be found in it. It is because of the short comings on Comfortable Distance, namely the complete absence of everything I just mentioned, that I find myself enjoying the unexpected; an old time feeling country music album in the modern age.

Matty Griffith, Chris Lewry, Nicola Tabb, Ryan Lipka, Zach Low and Daniel Kolenick manage to remain to their country roots, but simultaneously pull some flavouring into their mix from the fields of folk, blues, rock-a-billy, and even occasionally pop. This recipe has resulted in an upbeat, intelligent, and highly enjoyable country hybrid of music. Highlights for me on this disc are the opening track, Cowboy Fun, which ranks up there with any cowboy country song I can recall (ok, that isn't very many, but it's still a good song!), Misfortune, which strikes me more of a Woody Guthrie type folk than pure country, Comfortable Distance, which would be right at home on any Charlie Daniels album, and Anyway, which is just a great country/blues tune.

In short, Five Star Homeless has produced an honest, high quality, well written CD with Comfortable Distance that has caused at least this old country music hater to stop and reevaluate his musical prejudice… small feat indeed.


- Great White Noise (

"Prairie Farm Report & Western Producer Review"

Wood, Wires & Whiskey
Country Folk & Blues Reviews
September 2008

Five Star Homeless
Five Star Homeless
By Jason Schneider

Prairie Farm Report & Western Producer Hailing from the same Saskatoon roots scene that’s home to Shuyler Jansen, the Deep Dark Woods and Little Miss Higgins, Five Star Homeless are the most ragged of the bunch, drawing the bulk of their inspiration from Handsome Ned and No Depression-era Uncle Tupelo, with a large helping of pure twang thrown in for good measure. This latest release sounds every bit like the live-off-the-floor recording it is, and while it doesn’t quite equal the energy the group put out in an actual live setting, singer/guitarist Matty Griffith’s songs contain enough pure heart and soul to compensate. Most often, he sounds like a young Fred Eaglesmith, but with a bittersweet, David Lowery-esque sense of humour, best heard in “My El Camino” and “70’s Sideburns.” The barebones production of Prairie Farm Report takes some getting used to but it’s a good introduction to a band that promise to be a fixture on the Canadian touring circuit in short order. (Independent)
- Jason Schneider for Exclaim


- "Prairie Farm Report/Western Producer" July 2008
- "Lost Wages" June 2006
- "Comfortable Distance" Nov 2003
- "Comin' Right Up" (7 song EP) Dec 2001



Five Star Homeless, led by Matt Griffith, has steadily gained popularity on the Canadian prairie roots music scene since the year 2000. Hailing from the heart of their beloved province of Saskatchewan this Saskatoon band continues to seduce audiences with a unique and original brand of music. Their distinct musical style resonates with the traditional sounds of country, bluegrass and rockabilly while never failing to make a connection between the old and the new. This versatility enables Five Star Homeless to entertain a listening audience ranging from the younger and more aggressive listeners to those with a more mature and refined musical taste.

While Five Star Homeless takes pride in their instrumental diversity, the band's primary focus is on storytelling. Not of the tales and myths commonly associated with the Saskatchewan prairie but the stories of the people whose effect on this proud and unique culture has been considerably more subtle and indirect.