Matt Paxton
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Matt Paxton


Band Folk Rock


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"Guitar Hero"

The Silhouette - Article by Todd Westcott

The Silhouette (MAC UNIVERSITY)

Doesn't it just break your heart a little? Seeing a young artist with oodles of potential, staring down the nasty juggernaut that is the music industry: the lone folk singer standing with guitar in hand facing something totally beyond his control. How can you not feel a little queasy about the road ahead?
The name of this fiery folk rock crusader: Matt Paxton, with his trusty brigade of a backing band, The Mountain. Matt doesn't bat an eye when asked about the do or die of major labels, saying, "I don't think major labels are attracted, because I haven't flirted with them."
Not only that, but he goes on to strongly endorse his own label stating, "I admire independent labels who do their own thing, like the fiercely independent Hamilton label Put On Your Drinking Cap Records." He then enthusiastically names all of the other bands currently associated with the label.
Back in May, POYDC released Matt's newest EP Hand Drawn Maps. The key instruments are; acoustic guitars, a trembling bass or two, and chimes. The vocals are soft and crooning, full of Canadian warmth and relaxation. Overall, the EP feels like sharing a blanket with your honey on a cool Canadian evening.
The album exemplifies everything there is to love about the guitar. Listen to this album and tell me you don't want to hug the track "Greenish Blues" until it suffocates. The gentle plucking of the guitar coupled with Matt's light wisp of a voice makes for a calming experience.
Contrasting wonderfully is the bouncy bubble of the song "South Shore Trail," which has all the mirth and joy of hiking through the woods with a good group of friends, nestled between smooth chord changes and some "la-da-da-da-das." Matt notes the connection between his music and the forested places we hold dear, by stating that "Greenish Blue" is "an up-north Canadian travellin' tune."
Canada is what this album is about. Hand Drawn Maps is the essential Canadian folk rock starter kit. In case you haven't noticed, plenty of Canadians are already singing folk songs of the Great White North; Sarah Harmer, Feist, Jason Collett, Neko Case, Amy Milan and pretty much anyone else on the Arts & Crafts line-up.
With such a large gathering of folk performers, one would think that Matt is simply a bandwagon jumper, but Paxton takes a broader view of the current folk rock scene. "Folky tunes have been around for so long and I believe [they] will be alive for a very long, long time," said Paxton, showing the depth to which he believes in his craft.
Looking to make further dents in the Canadian folk landscape, Matt is touring Ontario with other bands on the POYDC label. He is also appearing with Chad Van Gaalen, The Cape May and The Peter Elkas Band. At the same time, Paxton is working on material for a forthcoming LP with The Mountain.
When quizzed about whether he was planning on matching the challenge set by Sufjan Stevens and by taking on a "10 Provinces, three Territories and a Hell of a Lot of Trees" project, he said laughing. "No, I think I'll let good ol' Sufjan have those too."
That's too bad; imagine a song about the CPR, with railroad samples playing over one of those wooden train whistles. Let's not give up hope in this project just yet—maybe Matt will realize the infinite potential in such an endeavour…but don't hold your breath.
In the end, it would seem that we don't really need to offer Matt hope, as he's giving himself enough to sustain a momentum which will (hopefully) see him stay afloat surviving as an artist in the angry showbiz world. All we need to give him is some playing time, a few record sales to keep food in his belly and a nice long listen—a listen that comes highly recommended. Good luck and Godspeed Matt.
•Todd Westcott

- The Silhouette (MAC UNIVERSITY) - Article by Todd Westcott

"Matt Paxton"

Although he studied journalism and communications at Mohawk
College, Matt Paxtons career goal seems to be leaning more
towards making music. A distant relative of Dave Rave
Desroches, (Paxtons great aunt is Daves mom), making music
might run in the family. But even with his scholastic endeavours,
the sometimes shy and retiring singer/songwriter would rather
take to the stage to sing than anything else and this week debuts
his new CD, Hand Drawn Maps.
I dont consider myself a journalist but maybe I took that as
a steppingstone for my writing, muses Paxton. After a few
years of it, Im not too big on the journalism. I was never
comfortable on TV, I was more comfortable writing the stories
rather than talking about them.
One of the newest additions to the Put On Your Drinking Cap
label, Paxton pens pensive tunes of longing, loving and, perhaps,
learning on his debut disc, weaving dreamy tales in a wistful
breathy tone. With his first live performance late last year, the 20
yearold singer/songwriter has received a lot of encouragement
from his friends, although at times it seems a daunting task for
someone who might naturally shun the spotlight.
Ive been playing guitar for a while with my good friends
Robbie and Billy Holmes, explains Paxton. They live down the
street from me and we all went to Westdale High School. They
encouraged me to put out a CD, so this past Christmas we
recorded a CD in the garage in their backyard.
I guess my friends wouldnt say Im quiet and shy but when
I get on stage, it can be kind of scary, suggests Paxton on
entering the spotlight. I was pretty scared when I had my debut
at The Casbah last September. I spent the whole time shaking in
the back room before I went on, but I was opening for Matthew de
Zoete and he gave me some pointers. He told me things would
get better with more shows and Ive played a lot since then.
Whether solo or with the Holmes brothers backing him in
The Mountain, Paxtons gig schedule has dramatically increased,
and with the CD release party this Thursday (tonight) Paxton will
be joined by a variety of guest performers for a special CD release
With Hand Drawn Maps, Paxton offers up a slice of youthful
yearning spliced with swaths of a Canadian travelogue,
sometimes offering colourful imagery of beautiful girls and
beautiful natural backdrops, particularly on the closing track.
I wrote Greenish Blues mostly on a bus going up North
where I worked at a camp, explains Paxton. Its about going up
there and trying to find a friend. The CD title is actually taken
from a lyric in the song. My dad actually drew me some maps to
get to Toronto and to get on the right bus to Haliburton, which
was pretty hard to find, but I made it up there alive. I incorporated
that into the lyrics and it seemed to sum up the feeling of the
The CD has a lot to do with up North, adds the singer, But
there are other things, a song called South Shore Trail, thats
about a pretty popular place for Westdale kids right here in
Hamilton. Its a very magical place.
Perhaps bound by the beauty of northern country, Paxton
might seem ecologically inclined, but he will prove his mettle as
he finds himself lyrically next year. Hes resolved to focus on his
passion and this first release is only the beginning for Paxton.
I havent hugged a lot of trees but I have climbed a lot,
quips Paxton on his lyrical love affair with natural settings. And I
guess it all comes out in my music. Its really what I want to do.
Im taking the year off school so Im going to focus on my music,
write a lot of songs and hopefully play a lot of shows in some
university towns.
I want to keep writing and pursue music. Id like to record a
fulllength in the next year but this time Im looking forward to
taking my time.
Matt Paxton celebrates his debut CD this Thursday May 4
with Ben Somer and Ashley Sloggett at The Casbah. A $10 cover
includes a copy of his new CD.

- View Magazine - Ric Taylor

"Hand Drawn Maps"

When I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Paxton, I found a kindred spirit: He was quiet, somewhat uncomfortable, and soft-spoken, reminding me of me. I didnt know what to make of himor his music.

After listening to the disc, I can say Hand Drawn Maps is one of the best driving to the cottage discs I could recommend; it must be heard out-of-doors. The 6 songs, including You Gather the Branches; Ill Get the Nails, Hammers & the Glue, and South Shore Trail, are each distinctive, leaves quaintly different picked from the forests floor.

Paxton longs for northern Ontario, setting him and his songs apart; his philosophy a folksy, Thoreau-like earnestness wears his music well. His lyrics capture moments: a person standing on a bridge, waning firelight, or nature, dancing. Greenish Blues is a stand-out; others include Paper Airplane and Trains and Bicycles.

Paxtons voice hearkens of a whispery Neil Young, a softer Bob Dylan, a quieter Bert Jansch. This comparison, however, forces lyrics to be hidden in whispers; voices are sadly murky throughout.

Listening to Hand Drawn Maps made me think of a Robert Frost poem, one Paxton himself would appreciate: This is all, they sighed, Good-night to woods.
- STEEL CITY MUSIC - Written by Joshua Weresch


Hand Drawn Maps - Released May 2006 through Put On Your Drinking Cap Records



Matt Paxton is the newest member of the Drinking
Cap family, another hidden gem from Hamilton, Ontario. 20-
year-old Matt writes his haunting songs with a longing for
Northern Ontario and says that he likes writing "honest,
poetic, Canadian lyrics about growing up in Ontario, love,
loss, music and art." He sometimes plays solo with only an
acoustic guitar and other times full band sets with his
backing band The Mountain.
Matt’s debut EP Hand Drawn Maps was released May
1st 2006. The collection of indie-folk-rock songs was
recorded for the most part in a garage in Hamilton in
December 2005. The songs came from inner and outer
spaces including past relationships, train rides to Montreal,
traveling from the city to the north country of Ontario,
getting lost in the woods with friends and playing guitar and
singing around a campfire.