Matt Tiegler
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Matt Tiegler

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


""his words bite while his verses wrap and flow""

The topics put to tune by singer/songwriter Matt Tiegler on his debut CD - Gods And Heroes - range from a tip o' the hat to activist/songwriter, Yip Harburg, to the disillusionment of organized religion, to the resounding notion that we are a society of people who have lost the art of listening. Tiegler's words often bite while his verses wrap and flow in an almost dramatic style...

Blend the caustic wit of a mid-period Elvis Costello, with the wry styling of an early Emmit Rhodes and send it out with the smooth balladeer delivery of a James Taylor. That's how this thought-provoking Chicago native comes off on Gods And Heroes, which was very nicely co-produced by the artist and ex-Bad Examples singer/songwriter, Ralph Covert, for the Chicago-based indie Waterdog Records.

"I aspire to match the quality of songwriting of XTC, the Beatles, Elvis Costello and Peter Mulvey," says Tiegler, "although I don't claim to have done so yet." The dozen songs featured on this ear-appealing collection shows that one day soon, he may very well be listed among such company....Tiegler is at once familiar while refreshingly different. Worth the price of a ticket from what I hear.

-Tom Lounges, Midwest Beat
- Midwest Beat

""Definitely an artist to watch""

"It makes sense when you discover that Matt Tiegler is also an accomplished actor (his credits include 'Flanagan's Wake'), as his 'Gods and Heroes' emphasizes lyrics as much - if not more - than the music. The lyrics are no afterthought to Tiegler, whose topics range from a tribute to songwriting great and social activist Yip Harburg to the fallacy of organized religion.... Tiegler is definitely an artist to watch, with some intriguing, idiosyncratic material and a refreshing songwriting sensibility."

-Dan Kening,

- Chicago Tribune Metromix

""Creates gorgeous melodies at will""

"A CD rich with intricate arrangements...intelligent and well-crafted...[Tiegler] creates gorgeous melodies at will, and has assembled a first-rate band..."

-Terrence Flamm, Illinois Entertainer
- Illinois Entertainer

""Breathtaking jewel of pop fable-making""

I almost hesitate to begin describing Matt Tiegler's commercial debut with the sort of superlatives I'm inclined to assign it, for fear I'll end up embodying what he has to say about the hype mechanisms of the music business (and other manifestations of the grown-up "suit and tie world"): "This is the part I loathe; rose-colored eyes, silk tongue and honey nose. You get your lines from the latest book of buzz...No need to humanize, you get bigger checks for bigger lies; we've lost the art of listening." So. Rest assured: I'm not on the take from Waterdog Records, and I'm not suiting up for a duplicitous schmoozing session of false-grin meet-and-greet when I say that Tiegler's lushly produced "Gods and Heroes" is a breathtaking jewel of pop fablemaking, a generously complex storybook of an album crafted with an astonishingly well-wielded array of instrumental tools and painstaking, impish, intelligent wordcraft.

The man's imagination is, to understate, enviable. Somehow it's hard to shake the urge to use words like "original" and "unique" even though Tiegler's musical influences hug his songs with an almost embarrassing tightness--one needn't listen closely to catch the clowny cadences and imaginative orchestrations of XTC, for example, or the unmistakable melodic markings of the Beatles. There are also hints of the hip Gen-X poetics of Peter Mulvey (Tiegler's a fan) and the smartly emotive sweet-but-guttural navel-pointed pop of Bob Mould (Tiegler's not much of a fan). But obvious influences aside, Tiegler is definitely an original. Rock fans with an aversion to the airy-headed fancies of the Dungeons & Dragons clique may find off-putting the myriad references to the mythical, mystic and iconographic (Inca rituals, Buddhist philosophy, Christian parables,Winnie the Pooh, the Wizard of Oz...even an ode to Yip Harburg, the oft-forgotten lyricist behind the unforgettable songs of the movie musical "Oz").

But Tiegler is every bit as articulate an observer of the commonplace and realistic as he is the extra-terrestrial and imaginative. "The Lost Art," quoted in the first paragraph of this review, is a perfect little bit of Holden Caufield anti-phony-ism. "Who I Am?" and "Wallowing" are simple but dead-on encapsulations of the humbling processes of aging and changing. As sharp as the lyrics are, however, the most ingenious element is the orchestration.

Tiegler, a busy Chicago actor and a member of the Noble Fools ensemble ("Flanagan's Wake"), has been writing songs on and off since high school. He's become more serious in the last half-decade or so, after taking songwriting classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music with Ralph Covert of the Bad Examples, with whom Tiegler produced this album. As Tiegler's mentor, Covert quickly became interested in producing Tiegler's songs, but the student bowed out at first, wanting to further develop his material (probably a difficult but wise decision: a listen to Tiegler's unreleased 1995 demo "Source" shows a great deal of melodic promise but less brain and originality). Tiegler began fleshing out the lush orchestrations in his head after being introduced to a virtual warehouse of odd instruments owned by Doug Brush and Andy Jones (who also provide colorful instrumentation to the folk meanderings of Rose Polenzani). The notes Tiegler took in those sessions became rough sketches from which Covert arranged the album. The vibraphones, dumbeks, tabla, djembe, muzzar, manyangas, accordion, didgeridoo, mbira, and so forth, perfectly define the many-colored environment of Tiegler's fantasies, from the opening pop sweep of "Lines and Circles" to the jaw-slackening melding of Medieval guitar and jazz trumpet on "Steady Tow," which closes the record.

Tiegler hopes to take his emotive but unpolished voice through some formal training in coming months. No doubt he'll also continue to whittle away the remaining imprints of the influences which helped to shape his sound. But if these are what pass for growing pains in Matt Tiegler's world, I'm getting giddy in anticipation of his maturity.

-Darryl Cater,
- Chicago


"Gods and Heros" is available on,, and can be listened to at (Star Cycle, Lost Art) debut EP "Source" is out of print and currently unavailable


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 2000 released debut CD "Gods & Heros" Produced by Ralph Covert and release on Waterdog Music. CD was spun on over 125 non-commercial radio stations across the U.S. Has been compared to XTC, Elliott Smith and James Taylor. Has performed at Martyrs, Schubas, The Metro, Elbow Room & personal favorite, Uncommon Ground. For more info visit