Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves
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Matt Joe Gow and the Dead Leaves

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"4 Stars - Otago Daily Times"

The debut album from former Dunedin, now Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Matt Joe Gow is a rich gathering of his musical inspirations, filtered through the baritone voice of a well-travelled 30 year old who knows how to write a tune. Yes, there is more than a shade of Ryan Adams there, but you're left with the feeling this is just the start, such is the confidence in delivery. Aided by big Telecaster-tones, slide guitar , mandolin and a bit of piano here and there, Joe gow crows, croons and cries across 11 tracks, most of which are rather good.
- Shane Gilchrist - Otago Daily Times


"Waikato Times - 5 Stars, 1st August 2009"

Matt Joe Gow has ridden into town with a pouch full of influence from both Johnny Cash and Neil Young. Gows Dunedin origins are hard to pick with world travels behind him and a top class international sound under his belt. Come What May and Things Fall Apart both expound the melodic maturity of Garth Brooks while songs such as Land is Burning and I Let You Be have a mood that is infectiously dark and melancholy.
5 Stars - Stu Edwards - Waikato Times


Discography

2009 - The Messenger
'Come What May', first single from The Messenger available on iTunes May 1st 2009.

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Bio

There are a few key qualities that the discerning music lover scrutinises when appraising a new artist. It goes without saying that hair and wardrobe are
crucial. However, some might argue that integrity is just as important. Can you trust the artist? Does that artist deliver with the conviction
to make you believe?
A very few artists wield so much charisma that they can sell you just about anything before you’ve realised what’s happened. Matt Joe Gow has the charisma
to be one of those artists – but he isn’t. Matt prefers to concentrate on the conviction. On writing and delivering songs that look you straight in the eye. You
don’t have to listen to more than thirty seconds of Matt’s debut LP The Messenger to appreciate that. The deep quaver in his voice leaps out of opening track
Come To Mama, She Says, like an arrow, both graceful and inexorable.
And when Matt hollers, “I’m crawling on my knees”, on the grinding Land Is Burning (topical, eh?), you know he’s been down there. He might even be
dredging that very holler you hear from the floor on all fours.
Oddly enough, it’s becoming fashionable to claim influences like Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons. Even in Australia! If you ever get the chance to sit
down and chat with Matt, you’ll discover that such influences run deep and true. He’ll talk your ear off about Steve Young – the author of Seven Bridges Road
that The Eagles rode to fame and one of the world’s most underrated singer-songwriters – and what a profound influence the Rock, Salt and Nails album
continues to be.
Like most of us, Matt’s formative musical epiphanies came early. Whilst labouring away at classical piano lessons, he began to wonder why what he was
being taught to play in no way resembled the Stones, Dylan and Cash records that his parents were listening to at home. It wasn’t long before Matt was
singing such songs in a band, and then picking up a guitar in order to write his own.
Like most New Zealanders with any imagination, Matt soon found himself compelled to stray beyond the boundaries of his wonderful country. Though he grew
up in Dunedin, a town of impeccable musical pedigree (surely you’ve heard of the Flying Nun Label and Artists Straitjacket Fits and The Chills?); Matt followed
the example of his well-travelled parents and sought further edification abroad – Asia, Europe, and, of course, America, home to his musical heroes – Johnny
Cash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Jeff Tweedy… A band, Tearlighter, was formed in Canada, and an EP released. A solo EP was recorded in England.
And then along came something called Alt. Country. “It wasn’t until, I guess, some of the late ‘90s alt country bands like The Jayhawks and Ryan Adams /
Whiskeytown, stuff like that, that I realised that you could play music like the music I’d grown up listening to, you could actually still do that, and
that was okay.”
A move to Melbourne, a place where independent spirits and western shirts live together in harmony, reinforced Matt’s faith in the music he’d always loved.
Matt heeded the many recommendations he’d received to “take music more seriously” (and realised that he wasn’t much good at anything else), and went
about assembling a band, The Dead Leaves – in Matt’s own words, a bunch of “like-minded guys who are into playing music that’s really honest, raw music
that’s kind of like the stuff we grew up on. Timeless music. Stuff that’s not really influenced by what’s going on now.”
As the band – drummer Joel Witenberg, guitarist Andrew Pollock and bassist Kain Borlase – began playing weekly, Matt noticed that the songs that he and
the audiences were most embracing melded his contemplative lyrical musings with more upbeat country-rock instrumentation. More fans began turning up,
and the Liberation label came on board and offered Matt and the boys an opportunity to record with Nash Chambers, brother of Kasey
and producer of some of the greatest albums recorded in this wide brown land.
Nash Chambers excels at tearing the heart out of a great live band and pinning it proudly on their record sleeve – where it
should be. And he has an uncanny ability to tap into the very soul of country music, the same one that inspired so many of
Matt’s heroes.
“I thought it would be interesting working with someone who has sold a lot of records,” Matt recalls his preconceptions
of Nash. “I just thought ‘oh shit, how’s this going to go?’ Because I know how I want my music to sound and he obviously
has a lot of experience. I had no real idea. He’d told me before that he doesn’t really do any pre-production so I knew
we’d be making a pretty raw record.”
Summoning additional instrumental input from the likes of the legendary Bill Chambers and Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie,
Nash set the tape rolling and thrust The Dead Leaves into the spotlight. Which suited them just fine.
“You have to let go and realise that’s how some of the best stuff happens,” Matt says of the experience. “And also
bein