Matt Paxton
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Matt Paxton


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"Back Home In The Village"

Matt Paxton
Back Home In The Village
By Jason Schneider

From the bittersweet opening track of this debut album, "City Of Smoke," Matt Paxton leaves no doubt that he's a Hamilton, ON boy through and through. He goes on to take several cues from Bruce Springsteen about how to romanticize/demonize your hometown, all the while aided by some of the Steel City's finest musicians, including guitarist Bill Dillon, a veteran of many high-profile Daniel Lanois projects. The hazy, Lanois-esque vibe complements Paxton's often-laconic delivery, and sets him apart from the common herd of no-nonsense troubadours. That's not to say Paxton's songs are run of the mill. He has a good descriptive sense, and anyone with any experience with gritty, working-class life will relate to everything he's saying. The Springsteen-isms sometimes get a little too obvious, as on "Me And Johnny," but then again, Bruce sounded a lot like Dylan on his first album. Paxton's produced a solid starting point from which to make his mark. (Down By The Point) - Exclaim! Magazine

"Matt Paxton"

I’ve got to tip my hat to the people at Down by the Point records. In an age where actually paying for music is a bit passé (we call this stupid phenomenon, blogger entitlement), this Hamilton based outfit is really trying to grab your attention and embrace that whole "good music will get heard" idea. Case in point - Matt Paxton.

Instead of worrying about making cash and selling records, Matt’s taking the grass roots approach and giving fans as much music as they can handle. Videos, blogs, demos; this Hamiltonian is constantly offering music fans the chance to hear his work, hoping to win folks over and after an extended sit down with his new album – Back Home in the Village – color me impressed.

Technically, he’s a singer songwriter but his music offers a lot more depth than your conventional coffee house entertainer. Matt’s dusty, slow burn is beefed up with a terrific cast of players (notable session musician Bill Dillon plays on the record as well as Tim Gibbons) and the result is tracks full of textures and maturity. Instead of simple acoustic numbers, you hear songs like Down the Mountain as a Train, City of Smoke and Those Old Red Moons; numbers pushed along by drums and filled out with reverbed electric guitar work or transformed by atmospheric steel.

The intricate arrangements let Paxton’s voice smolder without losing the listener. The beautiful sounds give him the time he needs to draw you in with his emotions. Paxton is a natural story teller and his songs create those hard to forget, snapshots in time. He’s got the unique ability to make you want to listen to what he’s saying. For some reason, even though I’m pretty unfamiliar with his work, he sounds familiar and comfortable to me. Just take 4 minutes and listen to the album standout, My Love (Comes from the End of the Road). You won't be sorry. -

"Paxton Draws from life in the Hammer"

August 05, 2009
Rosie-Ann Grover
The Hamilton Spectator

Matt Paxton is eager to get back on stage for another year at the Festival of Friends.

The 24-year-old singer/song writer from Hamilton returns as one of six finalists in the Jamilton Talent Search where the winner earns a spot in the 2010 festival main stage line up.

They?fll also land a $3,000 recording session from Vibewrangler Recording Studio where the local music production team of Mike Keire and Glen Marshall has worked with Feist, Apostle of Hustle and Melissa Mcclelland.

The prize will bring Paxton right back to where he recorded his recently released album Back Home in the Village featuring tracks Down the Mountian as a Train, My Love, Those Old Red Moons and City of Smoke.

In total, the 10 songs were several years in the making and include a personal touch from Hamilton?fs Tim Gibbons, Bill Dillion and Aaron Goldstein.

?gI try to be a song writer?fs song writer,?h said Paxton, drawing on life experiences for lyrics.

?gI have a lot of time ahead of me to document my life stories experiences and to do that I don?ft want to write a book or a screenplay for a movie or anything. I?fd rather keep writing and pumping out albums.

Selected tracks from this second album were used in an episode of a new CMT show called "The Show" airing this fall.

Paxton will also appear with a band in an episode of Mastertracks on and Bite TV.

The album production was a different experience for his fans that were able to tag along for the ride through videos and photos from the recording sessions.

?gWe wanted fans to be a part of the process and view it as it happened along the way,?h Paxton said. Much of the material was inspired by living in the Hammer and its people.

?gIt all starts from where you come from and it branches out from there.?h

At 18-years ?old the Westdale high school grad and a member of the Hop Hop Committee and heavily influenced by the work of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Jonny Cash, was introduced to the local music scene.

He landed his first gig at The Casbah playing with "The Mountain?h and later with Ben Somer, not knowing he would eventually get the chance to open for Blackie & The Rodeo Kings at the Hamilton Music Awards or share billboards with Tom Wilson, Jason Collett, Peter Elkas and Apostle of Hustle.

At 19, he released his first album, Hand Drawn Maps under the now defunct label, Put on Your Drinking Cap.

It wasn?ft long before he created his own successful label, Down by the Point Records, and started releasing independently for bands like Cowlick, The Abbreviations and Dark Mean.

The Jamilton Talent Search serves as another opportunity.

?gBeing a musician who is eager and doing a lot of things myself, with a ?gdo-it-your-self?h attitude you have to jump at those chances to enter the contests,?h Paxton said.
- The Hamilton Spectator

"Matt Paxton"

Although he studied journalism and communications at Mohawk
College, Matt Paxton’s career goal seems to be leaning more
towards making music. A distant relative of Dave ‘Rave’
Desroches, (Paxton’s great aunt is Dave’s 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 don’t consider myself a journalist but maybe I took that as
a stepping–stone for my writing,” muses Paxton. “After a few
years of it, I’m 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–
year–old 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.
“I’ve 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 wouldn’t say I’m 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 I’ve played a lot since then.”
Whether solo or with the Holmes brothers backing him in
The Mountain, Paxton’s 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. “It’s 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,” that’s
about a pretty popular place for Westdale kids right here in
Hamilton. It’s 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. He’s resolved to focus on his
passion and this first release is only the beginning for Paxton.
“I haven’t 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. It’s really what I want to do.
I’m taking the year off school so I’m 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. I’d like to record a
full–length in the next year but this time I’m 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


Hamilton Music Notes - OCT.1, 2009

By Ric Taylor


Matt Paxton’s first release on Drinking Cap Records “Hand Drawn Maps” introduced the young reticent singer/songwriter locally and to campus radio nationally but the musician had greater aspirations. When some local musical veterans began to take note, Paxton would slowly lose his reserve and start to build a network of like–minded musician friends and fans that would eventually snowball into his own label and an already critically lauded collection of songs. Back Home in the Village, recorded at Vibewrangler Studio with producers Michael Keire and Glen Marshall, showcases Paxton’s attention to detail in songwriting and a pensive, heartfelt approach to performance. This week, the Hamiltonian returns from a move to explore what the world outside Hamilton has to offer and he brings his official CD release party back home to the village where it all started.

“It was really cool for me to see and hear dudes like Tom Wilson, Bob Lanois, Marshall and Keire promote my songwriting,” recalls Paxton. “I look up to those guys a lot and appreciate their kind words and encouragement because it has certainly helped. Growing up in Hamilton has taught me a lot about hustling. I grew up listening to all of Tom Wilson’s projects and was inspired by his hard work. No one in this country hustles more successfully than Tom Wilson does. Tom Wilson taught me to completely throw myself into my passion and art. He told me nobody gives a shit about what you do more than you do. I dig that and will always remember that.”

Paxton’s taken the advice and grown up considerably in the last three years. He’s honed the songwriting and hustling skills and the Down By The Point collective/label of musicians, artists, and photographers he started is growing exponentially. While this winter Paxton will have songs featured on Country Music Television’s The Show and AuxTV’s Mastertracks, his main focus will be touring to let people know about this new collection of songs. But while he’s set to be on the road for quite some time, it’s Hamilton that will always be on his mind.

“We picked ten songs that seemed to have a certain thread,” muses Paxton. “I like to think of them as acts and scenes from the play called Back Home in the Village — all with introductions, reoccurring imagery, characters that haunt each track, and familiar settings. It is a pensive album that I had to complete and get off my chest. It’s all about experiences born right here in Hamilton. It paints days and nights spent in this city, some good, some bad and some in between. It is my way of documenting my time here in Hamilton. Most of this album was written when I was living downtown in Hess Village. The sounds and stories on the record were born in the doorway of that burnt down building on the corner of King and Hess.

With guests including Tim Gibbons, Bill Dillon, Carl Jennings, Tone Valcic and Aaron Goldstein and more, Back Home In The Village showcases both the full band as well as the solo voice and guitar versions of Paxton. For his homecoming, the show will have a small potential list of guest performers to keep the focus on the songs themselves.

“The album has been up on iTunes since January,” says Paxton. “I have been experimenting with digital distribution and figuring out what methods work best. But now I am ready to physically release the album the old fashioned way. From there I plan to tour, record another album and also put out Back Home in the Village on vinyl. I think those Bill Dillon licks off of the album will sound even better on your dusty old record player.
“For the CD release, I will be playing a very pensive set mostly solo with minimal accompaniment. I usually show up at events like this with my best men armed to the teeth but I decided to leave The Smoked Out City Band at the bar this time and truly focus on the storytelling that is the key to this album.

“I spend most of my time making my way back to Hamilton,” adds Paxton. “I did recently move to Toronto to pursue my passion in art, photography and design so that I can bring it all back home and tie that passion into operating Down By The Point Records and music. It was also about time for me to expand my songwriting outside of my hometown and gain inspiration from diverse cultures, while making a lot of new contacts. I am always coming back to Hamilton to hang where I feel most comfortable in the world.”

Matt Paxton plays this Thursday October 1 at the Casbah with Dylan Hudecki and Dan Delaplante. The doors for the licensed/all ages event open at 8pm and $10 gets you in with a copy of Paxton’s new CD. For more details click on - VIEW MAGAZINE


Hand Drawn Maps EP (Put on Your Drinking Cap Records) - 2006

Back Home in the Village LP (Down By The Point Records) - October 2009

Until the Sky Begins to Change LP (Down By The Point Records) - March 2010



"Back Home in the Village" (2009) was recorded at Vibewrangler Studio

Produced by Michael Keire and Glen Marshall (Feist, Apostle of Hustle)

The debut 10-track offering has a 'New York Greenwich Village circa 1963" meets present-day working class steeltown' vibe, and includes fan favourites Down the Mountain as a Train, My Love (Comes from the End of the Road), Those Old Red Moons, and the cutting ballad about hometown Hamilton, City of Smoke. "My music is more of a slide show of thoughts and memories," says Paxton. "Each recording changes song after song, but still manages to have a certain thread linking to one another. I enjoy writing songs to document time, stories and experiences, and taking a listener on a trip."

Paxton has played many shows across the Canadian landscape, sharing bills with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Tom Wilson, Jason Collett, Peter Elkas, Elliott Brood, Apostle of Hustle, Chad VanGaalen and Cuff The Duke among others.

World-renowned session guitarist Bill Dillon is a big fan of Paxton's singing and songwriting, and commented that "City of Smoke, for example, is the kind of song you should hear on the radio today. "Coming from someone who has recorded with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Robbie Robertson, it's quite an acknowledgement," says Paxton "We went into this project knowing we wanted to record a full album, but we didn't have all the content ready at the time. It's been a work in progress, evolving through the recording process."

During the 12 months at Vibewrangler, Paxton and his producers regularly uploaded videos, photos, different versions of rough mixes to online destinations. "We tried to keep things fresh, always updating the blogs, music posts and websites," says Paxton. "We made sure listeners and fans could see and hear exactly what we were up to all along the way."

The new music paradigm has allowed people around the world to access Paxton's songs – people who otherwise in the conventional corporate-dominated recording-distribution process, would not be able to find his music at all. "It has allowed listeners and fans to be indirectly part of the recording process," says producer Michael Keire "At the same time, Matt has expanded his fan base and provided them with much more than a single CD of 10 songs. They've been able to watch and hear the evolution of his songs and his songwriting. It's an incredible experience for the artist, for the fans, and for all of us working with Matt."