Matt Zeltzer

Matt Zeltzer


Matt Zeltzer has the rare ability to strike the very soul of an audience by moving seamlessly through blues, folk, and rock and roll with the use of numerous guitar techniques and ever poignant lyricism, led by devastating vocal delivery.


Portland, OR based songwriter Matt Zeltzer has been traveling backwards for as long as he can remember. “ I grew up listening to The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley out of the tape deck in my parents Camry wagon.” Eventually, his interests led him to the blues, and later folk music, from Buddy Guy, Howling Wolf, and the Band, and back to the likes of Son House, John Lee Hooker, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Zeltzer has been playing music for nearly his entire life- after fiddling with the family piano and a guitar he received “around age four”, he began taking piano lessons at age eight, shifting his focus to guitar at thirteen.

In the age of throwaway college degrees and text messaging, it is rare to find a young, well-developed artist such as Zeltzer. Already, at the age of 21, Zeltzer has released an EP, two demo CDs, played guitar on The Flying H’s EP “Shake It Out Loud,” and performed at numerous festivals, such as “One Family Gathering,” venues, benefit concerts, house shows up and down the west coast and in Hawaii—
All within the past two years.

Zeltzer’s music is a swirling mixture of fierce, bone-shaking slide guitar and subtle fingerpicked folk, with funk and R&B innuendo. The stirring texture of his guitar is tied with highly poetic lyrics and a soulful, seemingly timeless voice: reminiscent of an earlier generation of folk music, yet standing alone as a unique and contemporary expression. While Matt's technical talent is bordering on masterful, it is not only the rolling mantra of his guitar or the uncanny maturity of the lyrics that draw in his audience… but the intense energy and vibrancy he brings to the stage, the sheer momentum and the unusual honesty of his songs, that transforms Matt's music into compelling and profound art. As writer Craig Stroud mentions, it's as though Matt has "stolen a corner of your own soul and you find yourself constantly nodding 'yes, I understand oh so well'". It's this sensitivity and intelligence that elevates Matt's music to a level of widespread resonance.

After years of struggling to find his step, all while being too shy to bring his talents into the public eye, Zeltzer has finally released Scrapwood Balladry, his first EP, with the help of renegade producer/multi instrumentalist Dan Pisarcik, and pianist Tom Morrison. Scrapwood Balladry recalls introverted moments a la Neil Young’s Harvest, as well as the spirits of rock and roll, in “The Tombstone Shake,” with forays into the blues (“Left Til Dust”), while crowd favorite, “Different Ways” is a traveling funk- ballad.

With so many artists racing to the top and burning out, look for something else in Zeltzer-a young man who has been making music his whole life, constantly looking for the next song, with no intention of stopping anytime soon.


Left Til Dust

Written By: Matt Zeltzer

Leave me in the dirt
where I can smell it breath-
old road got more mud than gasoline
left til dust knows
more than you or me ever will

Mud rut puddles over
there’s nowhere to stop
keep racing daylight
gotta beat the dark
twenty-six dollars spent,
five left in the pot
left til dust knows
more than you and I ever will

Young man old from cracks on his face
nothing to rewind-
can’t even know shame
works all morning, night, and day
kisses his kid and its all ok
left til dust knows
more than you and I ever will

Railroad tracks heading way outa town
grass on the ties and no one’s around
Bet they never miss me when I go-
never seem to care when I’m around
left til dust knows
more than you and I ever will

Hilltops brown like an old man’s hrad
no reason to fight it
you’re better off dead
living like that ain’t no excuse for it
left til dust knows
more than you and I ever will

The Death of Miss Mary Jones

Written By: Matt Zeltzer

Well Miss Mary Jones
on her very last night,
she said, “Please catch me Lord,”
if you see me in flight,
for I don’t have no wings
and I don’t know how far I can fall.”

Well the Lord, he answered,
with hardly a reply
you could say that his voice
was as weak as a fly
fighting with gravity,
holding desperately to the wall.

You got serpentine living room
covered in mirrors
you got all of your lovers,
and all of your fears
Well the path that you walk
is covered in stones
you got rocks in your eyes
but we all, die alone

But Mary she cried
and she let out a whisper
“How do you think
that I got all the blisters
from alabaster stones
just kicking out from your backyard?”

Well the Lord he grew loud
and he boomed quite slow
he said, “Mary honey,
it’s not your time to go,
if it were I wouldn’t tell you,
I’d lie just the same.


At age fifty four
when Mary Jones died
she was laid in the churchyard
just outside
the gate where the old folks
liked to play their unions songs.

So if you see her grave
put a flower for me there
For she once had
such long gorgeous hair
but it withered and died
like the rose that sits under my fence.


You can hear the wind cry
when you see the birds speak
I can hear Mary’s voice
As it dances through the leaves
I know that she’s with me
and I’m not alone

When you’re riding back home
through woods, through parks,
and you see a lone figure
coming out from the dark
when she talks to you, answer,
but do it quite slow.


Old muddy wheels they keep
rolling on down the line
old muddy wheels
spinning softly in time
rolling back the years
to that old country home
ain’t no place I’d rather be,
but by your side all alone.

Different Ways

Written By: Matt Zeltzer

Got a weary head
from the moment I wake
I wish for tomorrow,
but I dread it all the same
Packed my bags, took the time
to write my number
and give my last goodbyes

We’re all different
We’re all the same
We tell the same old stories
in different ways

Well I caught that train
at half past noon
already told you that
I won’t be coming home soon
Staring through the glass
as the sun beams low
I look at all the houses
glide past my eyes,
but I never slow
and every time I go,
I wonder if I’ll return
I wonder what will be different
after all the years have turned


Well some folks ask me
if I’ll stick around-
give it one last shot,
another time around
If some folks ask me
what I plan to do,
I’ll just say
I’ll join the circus down in Kalamazoo



Don’t know why- I keep movin’ on
Don’t know why- I keep playing these songs
Don’t know why- all the brushes make the strangest kinds of lines
Don't know, don't know why


Scrapwood Balladry EP- 2008
Early Autumn(demo)- 2007
The Young Die Hungry(demo)- 2007

Set List

Left Til Dust, the Death of Miss Mary Jones, Different Ways, The Tombstone Shake, Rainy Day Blues, Got No Choice, If I Was Young (Do it all the time), Seattle I, Seattle II, Boxwine Lullabies, 8 Years, The Young Die Hungry, Foggy Trees, Where Is Your Plug-in, Windsong, Time Keeps Draining, The Fields are Burning, Tell Me What It's Like
Covers: "Death Letter" (Son House), "Crow Jane" (trad.), "Love Minus Zero/No Limit," (Bob Dylan), "Shooting Star," (Bob Dylan) "Oh My Sweet Carolina" (Ryan Adams), "Roll and Tumble Blues"(Hambone Willie Newborn, lyrics adapted by Matt Zeltzer), "Heart of Gold" (Neil Young), "Out On a Weekend" (Neil Young),