Matt Haeck & The Quiet Light
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Matt Haeck & The Quiet Light

Band Americana Pop


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"Singing As the Good Lord Intended"

Of all the musical instruments, the human voice remains the most idiosyncratic. The natural timbre and range of a singer, along with the singer's delivery, are almost the entire sum total of how a tune comes across. This rule runs the gamut from old jazz standards, to country, to emo.

For pop music there was a time when it was good enough to simply sing. Glen Campbell sang of the phone lines in Wichita; for better or worse, Ringo Starr sang about life on a yellow submarine; and the greatest voice of all, Johnny Cash, let us know what it was like when he "shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." These were voices plain and simple, no gimmicks or funny techniques.

About 30 or 40 years ago things changed. No longer content to just sing, pop vocalists started to embellish their tunes with touches of rock ‘n' roll roughness, even when they were singing a ballad. R&B and soul performers began to stylize their singing in such an ornate way that it became unusual to hear a note sung sustained for more than the heartbeat of a craven record executive.

With this in mind, Pair of Sirens by Matt Haeck is a welcome breath of fresh air. With an open, free style, Haeck sings in a clear tenor, using the power of his voice and the lyrics of his songs to convey the thought or emotion that he's shooting for, instead of relying on the overwrought – and by this point trivializing – pop singer styling. Audra Franz sings backup harmony on a couple tunes, but otherwise it is Hacek's voice, and his alone, that carry this recording. Believe me, this disk has no embarrassing Don Henley moments. There is not a hint of Michael Bolton faux drama or excess. It's just singing as the Good Lord intended.

While not sparse, the instrumentation remains simple, with the pleasant timbres of mandolin, guitar, fiddle, banjo, and cello filling in behind Haeck. The cello is featured quite prominently and quite well from time to time. The instrument comes across so strongly that I started looking around for the rosin by the time the disk was over.

Haeck falls into the tradition of the singer-songwriter from the time when that moniker meant that the writer was shooting for a profound statement, that the person strumming the guitar in the coffee shop had something important to say. The overall mood of all the songs on Pair of Sirens is ponderous, not downer sort of stuff like early post-Beatles John Lennon Plastic Ono depression, but Haeck has a few things on his mind – sometimes these thoughts are about relationships, sometimes about himself, or sometimes about the great country that we live in – and wants to be taken seriously. If this disk were to be played in one of Downbeat's blindfold listener tests, no one would mistake it for the soundtrack to Mama Mia or Hello Dolly.

-Paul Hormick, San Diego Troubadour
- San Diego Troubadour


Pair of Sirens LP, available on iTunes and Amazon, as well as and other streaming radio services.

Matt also has a new EP, which will be available late 2008 - early 2009.



Matt Haeck has lived all over. He basically covered the Midwest growing up and has spent years on both coasts. He now finds himself settling in the South after a recent move to Nashville. All these places somehow seem to find their way into his music. Centered and grounded in that catch-all folk and traditional country category now dubbed Americana, Matt comfortably assimilates northern soul, west coast harmonies, east coast pop and Midwest rock into his brand of country music. These places and the stories they tell combine with influences from Wilco and Stephen Foster to Cormac McCarthy and the Old Testament to form the substance of Matt's songs.

His forthcoming EP Western States (due out January, 2010) is an album about running, loving, losing, and longing. As the songwriter, Matt delivers food for thought through musical and lyrical hooks. As the singer, he delivers grit, honesty, and soul. Working creatively within traditional forms, Matt provides his own unique take on them, embracing pop sensibilities, yet having no problem communicating deeper truths not found in your ordinary radio rotation, however suitable to it. All the while he keeps an ear studiously and respectfully trained on those men and women, both living and long dead, who gave and continue to develop our rich heritage of American music.