Matt Duke

Matt Duke


Matt Duke is a 21-Year old singer/songwriter who's live shows prove to be a great outlet for his quasi-theatrical, emotional and dynamic style. Recording an XM 'The Loft' (Channel 50) session back in July 2005, Matt has been featured consistently on their 'Most Requested' playlist.


Twenty-one year old South Jersey-bred singer/songwriter, Matt Duke, is due to release his debut LP, Winter Child, through Drexel University’s student-run record label, MAD Dragon Records (Ryko Distribution) on September 12, 2006. Winter Child was co-produced by Stewart Lerman (Loudon Wainwright, Dar Williams) and Steuart Smith (The Eagles, Shawn Colvin) at The Shinebox Studios in New York City. The record features contributions by accomplished musicians, including Marshall Crenshaw, Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies), Suzzy Roche (The Roches), Steve Holley (Wings, Ian Hunter) David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby) and more.

Duke began playing piano at the age of seven, and by ten he developed a deep love for the arts. Inspired by artists such as Van Morrison, The Band and Pearl Jam, he taught himself how to play his mother’s vintage guitar. Duke spent his high school years at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep, where he was exposed to Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Tool and Damien Rice. Impressed by their poignant lyrics and musical ambition, Duke threw himself into writing and began performing at coffee houses in Philadelphia area. By the winter of 2004, Duke recorded his first demo, which fell into the hands of Marcy Rauer Wagman of Drexel University’s Music Industry Program and the newly-formed MAD Dragon Records. Subsequently, MAD Dragon Records recorded four of Duke’s songs for inclusion on XYX, a compilation of twelve tracks from three artists that toured as a songwriter-circle to promote the record.

XM Satellite Radio’s “The Loft” (Channel 50) received an immediate response after adding all four of Duke’s songs from XYX into its rotation. Duke’s songs were among the most requested at The Loft, joining Bruce Springsteen and Ben Harper for six weeks at the top spot. Mike Marrone, The Loft’s Program Director, said that his listeners had an “overwhelming positive reaction [to Duke’s music] from the very first spin.” Marrone also described Duke as the next big “break out act” for 2006, recommending that Lee Abrams, Chief Programming Officer of XM, play Duke’s songs for an executive music panel he moderated at the 2005 MUSEXPO in Los Angeles. The buzz surrounding XYX and Duke’s emotionally charged live shows helped MAD Dragon Records secure national distribution through Ryko Distribution. In late 2005, Duke entered the studio to record his debut LP, Winter Child for MAD Dragon Records.

Winter Child is a crowning moment in the development of Duke’s budding career and is laden with Duke’s signature songwriting style - extraordinarily beautiful melodies infused with unconventional song structures and intricate rhythmic textures. Duke’s lyrics tackle a number of topics ranging from self-destructive behavior (To Whom It May Concern, Listen to Your Window), to

casualties of inner city violence (One Small Bird), to the mourning of a loved one (Don’t Ask for Too Much) and the Apocalypse (Tidal Waves). Tidal Waves, one of the forthcoming singles from Winter Child, and one of the closing tracks, Yellow Lights, channel Duke’s commentary on religion and politics, while Ballroom Dancing displays Duke’s penchant for great literature with his ode to Hemmingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants.”

Commenting on Winter Child’s evolution, Duke states, “Getting the songs to translate [from solo acoustic arrangements] was an amazing process, but it certainly took some thought.” Duke continues, “We [Duke, Lerman and Smith] didn’t want to overdo it, so our real task was to see just how far we could go before we would pull back. It was very much like splashing paint on a canvas.”

Winter Child’s veteran producers, Stewart Lerman and Steuart Smith, helped provide a perfect balance of color and texture for each track. Duke enthusiastically states, “We worked to build around the essence of the song…the arrangement and selection of instrumentation was a well-thought out process.” Smith’s psycho-guitar talk box juxtaposed with Duke’s off-beat burlesque piano on Listen To Your Window; Smith’s intricate guitar voicing’s on Oysters and subtle harmonica solo on The Love We’ll Never Know; and the gorgeous string arrangements from Rob Morsberger on One Small Bird and Yellow Lights are all built around the framework of the song.

Duke reminisces, “We had quite an incredible time taking these songs places that we could only imagine.” The result is Winter Child, an intriguing, colorful and thought-provoking record that builds a platform for Duke to continue his musical exploits for many years to come.



Written By: Matt Duke

So here’s where I’ve erred -
Here’s what I’ve done…
I found a crack in my glass,
But it was pretty half - empty to start

So out with the old
And bring on the new!
Because to fix what I had
Was a pretty hard thing to do

But she said that I found a lot of oysters these days -
And with all comes a pearl and a pretty hard shell to break
Well, I’ve found a lot of oysters these days

I look to the sun, but I’m closing my eyes
Though my mother had said it
I was quick to look into the sky
And all through the pain, I’d sworn that I’d try -
And with big sunglasses, she stood there firm by my side

Don't Ask (For Too Much)

Written By: Matt Duke

Lend me your eyes, love, so I can see that blue sky -
A Gateway to Heaven
And the stars late at night
Lend me your hands, love, to brush across the ocean
White foam and water
Leave the earth to kiss your skin

Lend me your ears, love, so I can hear clearly
Waves crashing soundly
On the sand by your feet
Lend me your face, love, so I can feel beautiful -
Touched by the sunlight
That has seeped through the clouds
Lend me your mind, love, so I know what you’re thinking -
To dream of the life that you and I could’ve had

Lend me your voice, love, -
A gift from the angels! -
To sing lovely verses
As the sun starts to set
Lend me your love – oh’ god - I can’t even feel it
I’d give up forever just to know where you are

Lend me your eyes, love, so I can see that blue sky -
It’s a gateway to heaven
And the stars late at night
Lend me your mind, love, so I know what you’re thinking
Lend me your heart, so I know why you left

Tidal Waves

Written By: Matt Duke

So here’s the note I left by the fireplace and ash
From all the notes that I had burned not long ago
It’s great how severing all these ties can make things right,
Or, at least less wrong than they ever were before

The days I’d sit pensive by the window, and I could taste
The awful flavor of nostalgia mixed with hurt
But now my mouth is dry,
I choke on logic and my tongue is tied
From reciting inspired bible verses and bullshit lies

They say that this world is a wide-open road
And we’re stuck holding the wheel,
But in one hand’s a whiskey and the other’s too drunk to steer
So where do we go from here?

I dance and pray for rain
To wipe this earth out once again! -
And extend those forty days and nights indefinitely
And there’ll be tidal waves as all of my problems wash away -
You can hear my laughter just before I start to drown

If everyone here is a child of god,
This world is a pitiless whore
And He’s still playing favorites and behind on His child support
So where do we go from here now?

The noose that we wear doesn’t matter at all
(Unless we kick out our feet)
Perhaps our salvation is to know that we’re incomplete…

So here’s the note that counts
Explaining why I wanted out
It reads in small print,
“I’m much too tired to think anymore…”

So where do we go from here now?


Floating Mass EP- 2003
Mad Dragon Records 'XYX' Compilation- 2005
'Winter Child' LP to release September 12th, 2006...


Set List

Set lists range usually from 30-90 minutes of originals with a few covers (such as Bright Eyes' 'Lover I Don't Have To Love,' Otis Redding's 'Dock Of the Bay' and Damien Rice's 'Eskimo')