Matt Munhall
Gig Seeker Pro

Matt Munhall

Worthington, Ohio, United States | INDIE

Worthington, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
22
Matt Munhall @ Lincoln Theatre

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Dec
23
Matt Munhall @ The Top

Bexley, Ohio, USA

Bexley, Ohio, USA

Dec
22
Matt Munhall @ Old Bag of Nails Homeless Benefit

Westerville, Ohio, USA

Westerville, Ohio, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Sunday, April 20, 2008 3:32 AM
By Mike Harden

Matt Munhall leaned into the keyboard of the Yamaha baby grand in the piano lounge of Smith & Wollensky steakhouse at Easton. The dwindling survivors of March Madness were slugging it out on a pair of TVs above the bar.

A friend of mine confided that Munhall is a devotee of Randy Newman's music, so I dropped a bill in the tip jar and requested he play Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father. The song is better suited for a more reflective venue and less discordant accompaniment, and Munhall graciously demurred, though he offered up a heartfelt version of Feels Like Home somewhere between the televised free throws and Dick Vitale commercials.

The eighth of nine children in a Worthington family, Munhall came to music legitimately through his father, who sang with a Pennsylvania doo-wop group called the Emeralds that got lucky enough to record two sides of a 45 rpm that quickly sank to the bottom of the Monongahela River.

"My dad loved music dearly," Munhall said last week. "But he got out of it in his 20s."

Matt, now 26, learned piano early and played for free for years at an assisted-living facility not far from his Worthington home. For the past five years, he has been a regular at a piano lounge that looks out across an esplanade at a larger-than-life Victoria's Secret model wearing just enough Lycra to fashion a yarmulke for a gerbil.

The regulars come and go, sometimes requesting his lighter fare, sometimes asking for Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics, an ideological porcupine's waltz of a song that he describes as "an ode to how much I love my country, while at the same time a diatribe against its complacency and hypocrisy."

Or he might play you a few bars of his favorite musician.

"Randy Newman has a cockeyed insight into things," Munhall said. "He's got that unconventional New Orleans, classical style going on. He can take something that is very base and turn it into something that is very gorgeous."

Once a year, to sort things out between his music, his theology and his concerns about what is happening in the world, Munhall goes to a monastery in Gethsemane, Ky., for a week. It is a Trappist monastery near Bardstown.

"Songwriters have to think that the realities they are observing in the world are important -- believing in God and believing that God created us for more of a purpose than to eat, sleep, drink, have sex and die.

"My relationship with God has waxed and waned, but I think that going to the monastery takes you to places that you can't normally go in the real world. I can get centered as a human being."

It allowed him to return home to southern Franklin County from a gig, as he did several days ago, and remain calm after discovering that the door had been kicked in and he had been relieved of a $1,400 Gretsch guitar and a $1,100 Taylor model. His laptop was also missing.

But no one shot him. Guitars can be replaced. He still has a job playing at Smith & Wollensky each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (not to mention a great view of the Victoria's Secret window across the way). His music can also be heard by visiting MattMunhall.com.

Retired columnist Mike Harden writes a Sunday Metro column.

mharden@dispatch.com

- The Columbus Dispatch



Columbus musician Matt Munhall releases third album
Jazz-pop artist will holds CD release party at Lincoln Theatre
By Justin Powell
Metromix
July 17, 2009

Columbus musician Matt Munhall releases third album

City restores historic theater to former glory

We see plenty of movie trilogies [perhaps too many ... did we really need an "Ice Age 3"?], but it's rare to see a musician refer to his work as a trilogy.

But when your songs are as heartfelt and autobiographical as Columbus singer-songwriter Matt Munhall's, a trilogy sometimes just evolves on its own. Munhall's third album in his self-proclaimed trilogy is called, simply, "Three." When you hear about some of the circumstances that inspired the album, you'll understand why it's his favorite album to date.

After three long years apart from the one woman he says he always loved [Elizabeth], he got back together with her last year, and they got married in March. Now they're expecting a baby boy this fall.

Those kinds of life changes will affect your music whether you want them to or not. They inspired Munhall to write a few new songs for the record, which will come out July 18 during a CD release party at the newly restored Lincoln Theatre.

Before playing the big gig, Munhall caught up with Metromix to discuss the new album, his new role as husband, and a few of his favorite music venues around town.

Tell us a little about the new album, "Three," and how you came up with the songs for it.

It took a little longer than the other ones. It actually took a lot longer. I got married, and we're expecting a baby, so that was a big part of why it took so long to come out. But it also had to do with the evolution of the record. We recorded several songs, and I was pretty happy with them and figured I might have the record out last April. I went to New York and played there for the first time, but after coming back, I saw my old girlfriend again, and we got back together. To be honest, she was my muse all along, yet I hadn't spoken to her in years. So about three or four more songs just came from that experience of getting back together with her.

I also went back to school at Capital. Before, I had gone to school to study philosophy, not music. At this point last August, I was confident enough in my ability to read music to go to music school. It was a great experience. I learned a ton and studied with some great people. That helped me make some of the decisions about how to finish the album.

That's a pretty cool story—especially the part about getting back together with the girl you always loved. How long had you guys been apart?

We were apart for three years. It was a pretty rough breakup. ... All the other girls I've ever dated, something just felt wrong. I kept going back to the memories of [Elizabeth]. Then one night last year, she came into Dick's Den to see one of my shows, and we stayed up that night talking until 6 a.m. We kept talking the next month or so, and then we got engaged and then married March 28.

Now that the album is recorded and ready to go, I assume you're excited to get out there for this CD release party, especially considering it's at the newly resoted Lincoln Theatre.

Yeah, I always used to drive by the Lincoln Theatre while it was getting refurbished. Then I went to the first show after it opened up again, and I was just thinking, 'I have to play here.'

Will there be several other musicians joining you on stage to make the record come to life?

Yeah, we have a string quartet, and horn players and a guitar player, bass player, a drummer, and a guy to play piano when I play guitar. But for the most part, I'll play piano. It's basically like you hear on the record.

What are some of your favorite places to play around town?

I have a little prejudice for Dick's Den. There's a lot of jazz and a lot of authentic music played there by great musicians. I'm not a jazz player, per se, but I just getting inspired going there and listening to all the fantastic people who play there. And Andyman's Treehouse is a pretty intimate setting, and as a songwriter, that's a great place to go. Those are the two places where I've probably had my best experiences.

So I know you're calling the new record the third in a trilogy, tying it in with your first two albums. What makes these records a trilogy?

It kind of just turned into one. That definitely wasn't my original intent. But because of what transpired and what came out in the songs, it's just fits together. ... The first CD was very much about young love, and it was almost overly passionate. The second CD had a lot of ambigous thoughts, and I didn't really know what the truth was all about. I call it my Dylan album. There's a lot of confusion and frustration on there. Then the third album just brings everything full circle, now that I've found the love I always wanted.
- Metromix


Thursday, July 16, 2009 6:00 AM
By Chris DeVille


Will Shilling photoMatt Munhall Trio

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18

Where: Lincoln Theatre, King-Lincoln

Web: mattmunhall.com
Unwittingly, Matt Munhall was assembling a trilogy.

He didn't realize it back in 2003, when he released his first album, Over and Over Again. In those days, Munhall was smitten with a pretty young gal named Elizabeth. They met at Bishop Watterson and struck up a romance that lasted past graduation.

During downtime from playing piano professionally at Smith & Wollensky, Munhall would write songs inspired by their young love. Two years later, he was composing more of them for his sophomore release, Guinea Pigs on a Scaffold, when the couple split.

"We cut it off for good, we thought," Munhall explained. "Didn't speak for three years."

If Guinea Pigs was the sound of their relationship falling apart, Munhall's latest captures the essence of long-lost lovers finding each other all over again. He'll release the album, Three, with a special program at the newly renovated Lincoln Theatre this weekend.

Munhall had written much of the album already when Elizabeth reentered the picture. Many of the songs, "Hey Venus" among them, beckoned back the love of his life.

"She heard that song because Mike Harden wrote an article about me in The Dispatch, and she looked me up," Munhall said.

A year later, they're married with a kid on the way, and Munhall has even more music to show for it, from White Stripes-y acoustic blues screamer "My Baby Came Back" to the orchestral "Change," a work reminiscent of Paul McCartney and Andrew Bird.

Three reveals Munhall as the kind of pop songwriter you and your parents can agree on. He's classy in many senses of the word - polite and well-groomed, but also smart, sophisticated and capable of writing songs that bridge the generation gap.

Many pianists allow their instrument to dominate their songwriting, but Munhall's skill as an arranger comes to the fore spectacularly on the new album. Every sound gets its spotlight, from the screaming slide guitar on "Breakdown" to the whispering hi-hat on "Hey Venus."

Munhall has quite the album to promote, but he's trying to do most of it before September, when his first child is due. He's been playing regularly in New York and recently got his foot in the door with music royalties organization SESAC.

He also taped several episodes of the PBS series Piano Guy and plans to publish a book of sheet music later this year.

"I hope some kid 30 years from now is playing my songs in a piano bar," Munhall said.

On the home front, Munhall wants to top his 2005 release party at the King Arts Complex with Saturday's tilt at the Lincoln. His trio - Munhall on piano, Jack Knuttila on drums and Matt Paetsch on bass - will be backed by a string quartet, two horn players, two electric guitar players and even a conductor.

"There's a lot of musical ghosts there," Munhall said of Saturday's venue.

But the music echoing through the rafters Saturday will be decidedly alive, filled with the vigor of happy endings and new frontiers.

E-mail your local music news to Chris DeVille at cdeville@columbusalive.com
- Columbus Alive


Matt Munhall
Thursday, July 16, 2009 3:05 AM

<p>The roving pianist</p>
File photo

The roving pianist
STYLE modern folk-rock piano
MUSIC www.mattmunhall.com
CONCERT 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Lincoln Theatre,769 E. Long St.
TICKETS $18.50 and $23.50 (1-800-745-3000,www.ticketmaster.com)

A pianist since age 10, Matt Munhall has since gained a footing -- playing regular gigs at Dick's Den, Smith & Wollensky and other venues in and beyond central Ohio.

His third album, Three, spans a range of genres, from rock and folk to piano-oriented pop. At times, the fare resembles early Ben Folds; at others, Ryan Adams or Harry Connick Jr.

The 27-year-old Columbus native recently talked about his influences and about an upcoming show -- to feature a dozen central Ohio musicians -- for the release of his disc:

Q So you call yourself a Randy Newman fanatic?

A He's a genius. Like Sinatra, his work changed my life. He's not as much misunderstood as underappreciated. He taught me how deep you must go for a song.

I met him once, and we talked for 10 minutes about his first record. He was 24 when he wrote it. There were more than 140 musicians on it. He talked about how it almost broke him.

Let's just say I can relate about the "broke" part.

Q Would you describe the recording of your third album?

A My trio became a unit in March 2007, with drummer Jack Knuttila and bassist Matt Paetsch. The trio's tracks were done live, for the most part, and we went back and added the rest.

Adding the strings, horns, electric guitar and so forth later seemed to work well because, in my music, they play an auxiliary role.

Normally, this album would take about three months. But, due to some major events in my life, it took 16. It's the best 13 songs of all the songs I've written.

Q Why did you want to play the Lincoln Theatre?

A I've always been fascinated by the musical ghosts and rich history of Long Street and the Near East Side. I believe in the Lincoln Theatre and the goals and purposes of the Jazz Academy on the third floor. I hope it thrives.

You may be thinking: Can this Matt Munhall guy really fill the seats? No risk, no reward.

In this economy, somebody has to step out and give someone a show they'll remember for a long time.

-- Kevin Joy kjoy@dispatch.com
- Columbus Dispatch


Matt Munhall is playing a concert Thursday December 22 at the King Arts Complex Theatre, Columbus OH. Tickets are a mere $15, and a good time is guaranteed for all. Henry the Horse, however, will not be dancing the waltz.

This is where I shamelessly abuse my position as editor, go all Jason Thompson-first-person on you and tell you about a guy I know named Matt Munhall. He’s young, a mere 23, but he’s an old soul. I met him a couple years ago between sets at Smith & Wollensky, where he appeased the drunken, chain smoking masses by banging out typical piano man fare from the Beatles to Elton John and Billy Joel, sneaking a Ben Folds song in here or there when he could. The voice was a little off, but it was louder than God in that bar; I’m guessing he probably couldn’t hear himself. He told me later that he was finishing up a record. I wished him the best of luck, but without hearing any originals in his set, kept my expectations low.

Boy, did he show me. Released in 2003, Over and Over Again was startlingly complex, the kind of stuff that Randy Newman – not coincidentally, one of Munhall’s idols – would be proud to call his own. Dylan didn’t have anything to worry about in terms of lyrical prowess, but the song “Breathe” could have been recorded in the same sessions as “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” provided that Brian Wilson happened to pop in and add a few lines in the break. The album even had a piano solo that would give George Winston pause. Pretty heavy stuff for such a young Turk.

Well, it’s two years later, and in the time since his last album, Matt has toured all over Europe, watched a girl cut his heart cut out of his chest with a dull spoon, and discovered the aforementioned Dylan, which led to Munhall stepping up his lyrical game and experimenting with, horrors, a guitar. The end result of those three seismic events, Guinea Pigs on a Scaffold, will surprise anyone expecting more piano jazz. There is a strong alt-country influence on this record, with six of the 16 tracks boasting pedal steel, violin, or both. “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics,” in fact, is straight-up bluegrass, which is the perfect style for this, um, damning song about how “all the kids are on the drugs approved by the FDA / Drugs that steal a thousand thoughts from the kids each day.” Such are the thoughts of a man who’s just come back from, ahem, Amsterdam.

Matt’s best shot at the brass ring is with the leadoff track “Obvious.” Propelled by a bouncy piano line and some more of those Brian Wilson vocals, “Obvious” is the kind of thing Ben Folds would write if he weren’t so busy being a miserable old codger. The wounds from the breakup are on display here, where he tells his lady friend “you were just another high school girl, afraid to screw up / just too scared of the world, too scared to screw up.” He kicks himself later for getting into this mess: “Could I be any more obvious? Baby, I’ll be alright / Don’t think I’ll stay tonight.”

If there is anything holding Guinea Pigs back, it’s the length. There are 16 tracks here, and it feels every bit like a 16-track album, meaning that three or four should have been held over for the next record. However, since there may not be a next record (Munhall paid for this album himself, so it’s not like he’s spending Geffen’s money getting high for three years like the Stone Roses once did), it’s understandable why he laid it all out on the table here.

And that is why I’m pimping his show in Columbus next week so heavily. Dude needs butts in the seats in a big, big way, and the show, featuring some supremely talented local legends as his backing band, should be a real treat. Matt’s going for it in ways that most musicians wouldn’t even dare to dream about, and you have to admire his decision to throw a big, fancy grown-up party instead of playing one or two of his songs in between a bunch of Bright Eyes covers at a coffee shop. In fact, he just recorded an appearance on Scott “The Piano Guy” Houston’s PBS show, where he plays an original (“Peach Moon,” from Over and Over Again), a Randy Newman cover, natch, and some traditionals. This is why, if you live in the Columbus area, you should check out this show, so you can say that you saw him before he was a star. Bragging rights rule, you know it’s true.


~David Medsker
dmedsker@bullz-eye.com
- Bullzeye.com


Matt Munhall is playing a concert Thursday December 22 at the King Arts Complex Theatre, Columbus OH. Tickets are a mere $15, and a good time is guaranteed for all. Henry the Horse, however, will not be dancing the waltz.

This is where I shamelessly abuse my position as editor, go all Jason Thompson-first-person on you and tell you about a guy I know named Matt Munhall. He’s young, a mere 23, but he’s an old soul. I met him a couple years ago between sets at Smith & Wollensky, where he appeased the drunken, chain smoking masses by banging out typical piano man fare from the Beatles to Elton John and Billy Joel, sneaking a Ben Folds song in here or there when he could. The voice was a little off, but it was louder than God in that bar; I’m guessing he probably couldn’t hear himself. He told me later that he was finishing up a record. I wished him the best of luck, but without hearing any originals in his set, kept my expectations low.

Boy, did he show me. Released in 2003, Over and Over Again was startlingly complex, the kind of stuff that Randy Newman – not coincidentally, one of Munhall’s idols – would be proud to call his own. Dylan didn’t have anything to worry about in terms of lyrical prowess, but the song “Breathe” could have been recorded in the same sessions as “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” provided that Brian Wilson happened to pop in and add a few lines in the break. The album even had a piano solo that would give George Winston pause. Pretty heavy stuff for such a young Turk.

Well, it’s two years later, and in the time since his last album, Matt has toured all over Europe, watched a girl cut his heart cut out of his chest with a dull spoon, and discovered the aforementioned Dylan, which led to Munhall stepping up his lyrical game and experimenting with, horrors, a guitar. The end result of those three seismic events, Guinea Pigs on a Scaffold, will surprise anyone expecting more piano jazz. There is a strong alt-country influence on this record, with six of the 16 tracks boasting pedal steel, violin, or both. “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics,” in fact, is straight-up bluegrass, which is the perfect style for this, um, damning song about how “all the kids are on the drugs approved by the FDA / Drugs that steal a thousand thoughts from the kids each day.” Such are the thoughts of a man who’s just come back from, ahem, Amsterdam.

Matt’s best shot at the brass ring is with the leadoff track “Obvious.” Propelled by a bouncy piano line and some more of those Brian Wilson vocals, “Obvious” is the kind of thing Ben Folds would write if he weren’t so busy being a miserable old codger. The wounds from the breakup are on display here, where he tells his lady friend “you were just another high school girl, afraid to screw up / just too scared of the world, too scared to screw up.” He kicks himself later for getting into this mess: “Could I be any more obvious? Baby, I’ll be alright / Don’t think I’ll stay tonight.”

If there is anything holding Guinea Pigs back, it’s the length. There are 16 tracks here, and it feels every bit like a 16-track album, meaning that three or four should have been held over for the next record. However, since there may not be a next record (Munhall paid for this album himself, so it’s not like he’s spending Geffen’s money getting high for three years like the Stone Roses once did), it’s understandable why he laid it all out on the table here.

And that is why I’m pimping his show in Columbus next week so heavily. Dude needs butts in the seats in a big, big way, and the show, featuring some supremely talented local legends as his backing band, should be a real treat. Matt’s going for it in ways that most musicians wouldn’t even dare to dream about, and you have to admire his decision to throw a big, fancy grown-up party instead of playing one or two of his songs in between a bunch of Bright Eyes covers at a coffee shop. In fact, he just recorded an appearance on Scott “The Piano Guy” Houston’s PBS show, where he plays an original (“Peach Moon,” from Over and Over Again), a Randy Newman cover, natch, and some traditionals. This is why, if you live in the Columbus area, you should check out this show, so you can say that you saw him before he was a star. Bragging rights rule, you know it’s true.


~David Medsker
dmedsker@bullz-eye.com
- Bullzeye.com


Discography

All available on iTunes, CDbaby, Amazon, etc

Over and Over Again
(full length)
(2003) Effort Records

Guinea Pigs on a Scaffold (full length)
(2005) Effort Records

Three
(full length)
(2009) Effort Records

All published by:
Guinea Pigs Music

Photos

Bio

Matt Munhall, 27, started his professional music career with the release of Over and Over Again in 2003. Primarily a piano player and singer, Matt was playing places like The Worthington Inn, The Bexley Monk, and Smith and Wollensky in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2004/2005, he went across the sea to perform on an Air Force base in Germany for six months, and on arrival back in the states he recorded his second record (Guinea Pigs on a Scaffold) and headlined his debut concert to 400 fans at The King Arts Complex.

In 2007, Munhall put together a cohesive rhythm section that includes Matt Paetsch on bass and Jack Knuttila on Drums. Munhall played The Bitter End in New York in April 2008, in the New York City Songwriters Showcase, and played the Living Room on July 8th. Ever since, he's made a habit of making it to the city to play shows.

Matt and his band have performed with Richard Julian, Micah Dalton, Megan Palmer, Wolfgang Parker, The Floorwalkers, and many others.

The Matt Munhall Trio has also been traveling in the Midwest and is planning to tour more extensively again in 2010.

In August 2008, he enrolled at Capital University to study music arranging formally for the first time. With his third full-length original studio recording under his belt, Matt has built a substantial foundation for a career as a recording artist/singer songwriter/producer.

His newest release Three, opened with great success at the newly restored Lincoln Theatre July 18th, 2009. Matt owns his own music and is licensed as an artist and publisher affiliate with SESAC Nashville.

He is currently a featured guest on sixteen episodes of a nationally syndicated PBS show called The Piano Guy. The show airs on over 200 stations across the nation. As far as his influences go, they range from folk to classical to blues to jazz to rock to pop. Matt has an inexhaustible dedication to making great art and an emphasis on the honesty that propels his writing. He is well aware of his own musical philosophy and how it drives him. Great music is ultimately made from the moderation of craftsmanship and creativity. Matt has adeptly garnered both.

The 2009 release of Three reveals Munhall as the kind of pop songwriter you and your parents can agree on. He's classy in many senses of the word - polite and well-groomed, but also smart, sophisticated and capable of writing songs that bridge the generation gap.

Many pianists allow their instrument to dominate their songwriting, but Munhall's skill as an arranger comes to the fore spectacularly on the new album. Every sound gets its spotlight
Visit www.mattmunhall.com