Matt Larson & AudibleWatercolor
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Matt Larson & AudibleWatercolor

Peoria Heights, Illinois, United States | SELF

Peoria Heights, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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"Peoria Journal Star Interview with Matt Larson: "Back Home After A Real Tour""

When Matt Larson takes the stage at Eamon Patricks Public House on Saturday, you may want to congratulate him. He survived 8,684 miles in a 31-foot RV with his wife, three young boys and a lab/chow mix — all in the name of music.

Larson, a Bloomington native who also has lived in Peoria, has spent the last few years living a quiet life in Fort Mills, S.C., with his family. His music career was coming along nicely and he had several shows booked on the East Coast but wasn’t too excited about all the back-and-forth traveling it would require.

Larson’s wife Kara suggested they tackle a tour together — as in, more together time than most families ever know. They ended up selling their house in and buying an RV, which Larson calls "a glorified dorm room."

"Everybody thought we were insane," Larson said, "but it seemed like a good idea. Family is priority for us, and to really get your career going you have to be out playing a lot. It made sense for us to all be together."

They stayed on the road for four months, homeschooling their 7-year-old (the other boys are ages 4 and 2) while Larson spent his evenings playing gigs in cities from New York to Washington, D.C. to Canada and the Carolinas. They almost decided to stay put for good in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

"It’s so beautiful," Larson said of the area. "We were talking about making our way out to Alaska. But we didn’t make it past Illinois."

The family was visiting Peoria in November when they decided to hang up the driving gloves. The weather was getting colder, and they had enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family; it felt like they had found something they had been missing for awhile.

These days, they are calling Peoria Heights home. The RV is in storage now and the family plans to sell it. Larson is focusing on booking gigs in the area; he has a show Saturday at Eamon Patrick’s Public House.

Larson said a critic has described his mellow, acoustic music as "Ben Folds meets Ben Harper meets Coldplay meets something else. ... If you find a category that I fit, that would be great," he says.

Larson has created two full-length albums — "Elevator People" (2001) and "This Living Room" (2006) — and currently is working on his third, titled "Space and Time."

The song writing will be a lot easier now — he didn’t have much of an office in the RV, and Internet and phone service were always spotty.

Although the whole journey may sound crazy to some, Larson is happy they went on the road.

"We stayed in some really nice campgrounds," he said, and the boys didn’t mind the togetherness.

"If they have rocks and dirt and bugs, they don’t need too much else," said Larson, laughing as he recalls ticking off about 10 orange construction cones in the RV during a moment of unbridled adventure, his three boys egging him on.

"There are not too many kids that say, ’Yeah when we were younger our parents sold their house and bought an RV and went on the road,’ " Larson said. "I think that will be pretty cool for them to talk about — later .. they’ve completely repressed all of the horrible memories from the trip."

Danielle Hatch
Journal Star’s Entertainment Editor.

- Peoria Journal Star

"Artist Who Controls All Aspects of Works to Perform on NE"

October 25, 2006
By Isaiah Smith
Tarrant County College Publication

“Artist who controls all aspects of works to perform on NE”

Self-made artist Matt Larson brings This Living Room to NE Campus. Larson will appear live Nov. 16, at 11 a.m. in the NSTU cafeteria performing songs from both his latest CD and his debut album, 2001’s Elevator People.

“I’m passionate about learning and creating,” Larson said on “I’m also a broke indie-musician. Those two things lend themselves well to doing things yourself.”

Larson is not playing around when he says “by himself.” This Living Room was written, produced, engineered, and mixed by him. In addition, he is credited as vocalist and plays the scoustic and electric guitars, upright piano, classic banjo, mandolin, harmonica and bass. Now that is what I call an artist.

Even his Web site is where consumers can buy the album.

This is high-quality music for an amateur without a label. I love the track “Something Missing.” Larson has a good tone on this track with a steady beat; it has a Keane and James Blunt ‘70s-soul feel.

“Righteous Virgin” is the best choice for a single. The strings, mixed with light, haunting vocals give a good rhythm to drive to; it is a great radio song.

Some tracks sound similar, but that is to be expected of inexperienced performers, so the familiar sound is forgivable.

One thing that adds charms is the dead, scratching air at the beginning or end of some tracks. It is so great to hear that grassroots music feel in the age of Clear Channel’s stranglehold on music through radio control.

This spunky spirit is well represented on “Resolve,” an upbeat track about an undeterred man finding his way into the heart of a girl. The whole not-giving-up thing is admirable in today’s ADD society.

The second best choice for a single is “The Mind Contention.” Some impressive vocals highlight this track; also he goes into his upper register without going into falsetto. The hook is a mind-bending, haunting chorus of “I will try” that is destined to get stuck in the heads of people all over the country.

Unfortunately, the odds are very small this will get a lot of airtime-a stupid lack of freedom of expression.

Larson is one of the first Myspace artists I have seen make a splash off of the Web site. Maybe this will start or help the trend of independent recording artists sticking it to the major labels.

This Living Room may not be coming to a radio station near you, but it is a really great album. I give it five stars.

Any artist who plays both the mandolin and the classic banjo on one album deserves kudos.
- The Collegian

"Matt Larson "This Living Room""

September 21, 2006
By Thomas Nobles
Eagle Music Critic
Florida Gulf Coast Univesity

Matt Larson “This Living Room”

So, who is Matt Larson? To be honest, I am not quite sure. Last week the editor of this newspaper handed me Larson’s new album, This Living Room, and asked if I would make it the topic of my next review. After just a couple of listens I was very glad to have accepted the assignment. Larson’s soothing melodies seem like they would be just the thing to lift my spirits after a day’s worth of tedious college courses.

According to the album insert Larson plays a ridiculous number of instruments on This Living Room. This impressive list includes various guitars, other stringed instruments, keyboards, pianos, and even a harmonica. He was also responsible for most – if not all – of the writing, producing, engineering and mixing. Larson accomplished all of this from the comfort of his own home. What a showoff.

A few of these tunes were able to catch my attention more than others. The first track, “In Distress She”, sounds a bit like some sort of long lost Maroon 5 b-side. Early Ben Folds Five seems to be getting channeled during “You Won’t Let Me Go,” the album’s second song. “Doubt” is probably one of the most infectious songs I have heard in a long time. I also quite enjoy the delicate banjo picking that flows throughout “Resolve.” Out of the album’s thirteen tracks there are only a couple that I do not really care for. I think that is pretty impressive coming from an independent artist.

Within my first few listens I came to the conclusion that the songs on This Living Room make for some great homework music. Some tunes are just mellow enough to play in the background while typing a research paper, and yet at the same time lively enough to put on the soundtrack to any road trip. I know that sounds like an odd combination, but it totally works.

Even though musically Larson does not break much new ground on This Living Room, his lyrics are still very heartfelt and original. His talent with multiple instruments is also undeniable. I have no doubt that his songs would ft in very well on mainstream radio stations alongside the likes of Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, or even Dave Matthews. Larson will actually be coming to FGCU towards the end of November, so consider this an early reminder to start marking your calendars.
- The Eagle Review

"" outstanding performer...""

“I would highly recommend Matt Larson. He is an outstanding performer who instantly connected with our students. I applaud him for his flexibility and willingness to accommodate the needs of students and the college to ensure a premier performance.”

Vesta Wheatley
Director of Student Activities
Tarrant County College Northwest
- Director of Student Activities

""...a big hit on our campus...""

“Matt Larson was a big hit on our campus! He's great to work with and an all around good guy. The students really seemed to enjoy his music, style, and humor. He took a cafeteria show and made it a great event! I've already had students asking when he can come back.

- Kim Day
Spartanburg Methodist University
Student Activities Director
- Spartanburg Methodist University


"Elevator People" 2001
"This Living Room" 2006
"Space and Time" - June 2011
"AudibleWatercolor" selftitled - August 2011



AudibleWatercolor came together in January of 2011. Matt had thought that the cello, mandolin, and guitar would be a fantastic combination.. and it turned out he was right.

The trio delivers the culmination of extensive musical experience to every performance.

Andrew Hatfield plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass, and is the 2010 3rd-place winner at the National Flat-Pick Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Andrew is a complete musician who is well-versed in several styles of music, including bluegrass, country, r& b, and jazz. He currently plays guitar with the Chicago-based bluegrass band, Ashley Lewis and Ashton Gap, and mandolin with Peoria, IL mainstay Applegate and Co. He also performs with Christian musician Julius Adams, and singer-songwriters Laura Clark, and Matt Larson.

Andrew caught the music bug at a young age from his parents: his mother a songwriter, and his father a well-respected banjo player. He studied music at Bradley University (B.S. 2001), where he played the french horn. Andrew has taught music privately for 7 years, including 3 years at the Academy of Fretted Instruments in Peoria, and currently teaches full-time in Peoria, IL.

Matt Larson is determined to avoid the cliché of the sullen, self-involved singer song-writer, both in his music and in his on-stage demeanor. He is thought provoking yet fun, intelligent yet unpretentious. The optimistic, affable tone that typifies his music is bal-anced and enriched by an underlying complexity and subtlety that make his songs more than a fleeting, superficial pleasure.

In concert, he uses his humor, gregarious nature and thoroughly eclectic musical palat to entertain. Andrew and Gretchen demonstrate an excellence on their instruments that will blow your mind. The cou de gras is the warmth and wit expressed through Matt's voice that reaches out and draws his audience in.

A unique trio that is the best at what they do.

"Matt, you were very easy to work with and the students loved you! The CDs are great too!"

Kimberly Thornton - Assistant Director for Student Leadership & Involvement
Louisianna State University
Shreveport, LA

"Matt's show was a brilliant blend of original and cover songs. He had a great sense of humor that kept the audience interested and excited. He's the perfect act for a coffee house venue and really involves the crowd in his show."

Jacqueline A. Taylor – Student Activities
Catholic University
Washington, DC

“I would highly recommend Matt Larson. He is an outstanding performer who instantly connected with our students. I applaud him for his flexibility and willingness to accommodate the needs of students and the college to ensure a premier performance.”

Vesta Wheatley
Director of Student Activities
TarrantCountyCollege Northwest
Fort Worth, TX

“Thank you for hosting our coffee house here on campus! The program was a success and the students loved having the chance to perform for their fellow students. You did a great job of incorporating the audience!Thanks again!”

Jean Rekowski
Director of StudentActivities & Orientation
Misenheimer, NC

"Matt Larson's easy yet engaging performance at our cafe kept our crowd listening rather than chatting..which is rare!"

Randy Kelly
Appalachian StateUniversity
Student Activities Director
Boone, NC

“What a great show. Matt does a great job of interacting with the audience and was so easy to work with. We received many compliments on the show!”

Sara Hillis
Coordinator of New Media and Programs
Commerce, TX

“Matt Larson was a big hit on our campus! He's great to work with and an all around good guy. The students really seemed to enjoy his music, style, and humor. He took a cafeteria show and made it a great event! I've already had students asking when he can come back.

Kim Day
Student Activities Director
Spartanburg, SC