Matthew Scharpf's Strangers and Saints
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Matthew Scharpf's Strangers and Saints

Berwyn, Illinois, United States | SELF

Berwyn, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Jamestown's Second Album a Hidden Gem"

By Sal Nudo
Ridiculously catchy with a touch of elegance, especially during the first five songs, "Jamestown" is a hidden treasure of a CD. Though a bit thin-sounding productionwise, tunes like "Wakefield (the bright side)," "Roanoke" and the Dave Matthews-esque "Keith" contain an inescapable cheeriness that's contagious and hard not to enjoy. That's not to say, however, that Jamestown were pure feel-good fluff, not by a longshot. These guys wrote reflective, poignant tunes that classily and accurately captured the pains of growing into adulthood with reverence. "New England-Delaware Line" and "Finnegan's Wake," for instance, gently offer a reflective outlook that make Jamestown seem mature beyond their years as songwriters.

Jamestown were a Chicago band from the mid-1990s that met and formed at the University of Dayton. The guys were great musicians who weren't afraid to add instruments like the harmonica, bongos, keyboard, violin, accordion and banjo to the mix. The easy-on-the-ears, tenderly sung vocals in Jamestown were shared by Josh Chicoine and Lou Leone, both of whom, along with multi-talented instrumentalist Matt Scharpf, contributed the lion's share of songwriting duties. Like the band's even better 1998 album, Take This As You Will..., the "Jamestown" CD is chock full of its own graceful, reflective moments. Before it builds to an eventual crescendo, for instance, "Spiral Down" features great percussion work by Pat Buckley. The Chicoine-written tunes on "Jamestown" are contemplative and full of hooks and good transitions, while Leone's songs are equally well thought out.

Far from a cookie-cutter act, Jamestown were an above-average band cut in the same mold as Guster and a more melodic Dave Matthews Band. If you enjoy those groups, you should give Jamestown a try; for a while in the mid- to late-90s, the band created some really solid stuff. - Amazon.com


Discography

2011 Stephens Hotel (EP)
1997 Take This as You Will
1996 Jamestown
1994 Handful of Sand
1993 Emotional Baggage

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Bio

Matthew Scharpf has been writing songs for over 20 years. He, with his former band Jamestown, has had his songs in movie soundtracks, in national ad campaigns, and played on major radio stations. He has written hundreds of tunes, many of which appear on three Jamestown cd’s.
Independently selling over thousands of copies while touring the midwest and southeast, Jamestown performed at many independent music festivals in the U.S. and Canada, opening for acts such as 10,000 Maniacs, Tragically Hip, Cracker, Freddy Jones Band, and the Drovers. Matt plays live often in and around Chicagoland.

Influences

I have been inspired at one time or another by James Taylor, Lloyd Cole, Matthew Sweet, Paul McCartney, John Mellencamp, Lyle Lovett, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Indigo Girls, John Fogherty, Paul Westerberg (Replacements), Elvis Costello, Jim Croce, the Jayhawks, Justin Currie (DelAmitri), Joshua Tree U2, early R.E.M., Rubber-Soul and White-Album Beatles, Dire Straits, Ron Sexsmith, Evan Dando (Lemonheads), Tom Petty, Elliot Smith, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.