Matthew Farley
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Matthew Farley

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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The Matt Farley Project



When New York-based musician Matt Farley identifies his main influences as being "good country music, good rock music and blues", it's hardly surprising -- shades of all of the above are more than evident in the seven songs that make up his debut release. While his powerfully soulful singing recalls artists as diverse and unlikely as torch n' twanger kd lang and Fishbone's manic frontman Angelo Moore, the songwriting calls upon both the power of Alice In Chains and the pathos and sincerity of the untouchable Merle Haggard. But perhaps what ties it all together is one undeniable component: authenticity. Matt has spent most of his life behind the drum kit with his heavy-rock band Bully, channeling iconic hard rock drummers like Tommy Aldridge and Phil Rudd. Make no mistake about this, folks: Matt Farley can play drums. When his band get onstage and start to play, you'll know if there are any other drummers in the audience -- they'll be the ones staring into their drinks and contemplating a career change. Up until now, and for good reason, drumming is what Matt has been known for. Which makes this, his first official outing as a lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, all the more astonishing and revelatory. Possessing a voice that would make almost any lead singer envious, he is also seemingly at ease and fully confident with any instrument in his hands -- and maddeningly enough, Matt turns out to be a truly natural songwriter, as well. A bona fide quadruple threat. Teaming up with longtime friend Shaun Smith (who co-wrote four of the songs) in Nashville, Matt recorded the vocals and much of the instrumentation in these songs himself during a short visit there in 2007. Another hometown mate, Andrew Dickson (Hillbilly Casino), joined the party as well, taking the drum throne on "Doomed". Finally, the recording was wrapped up in Brooklyn by Matt's friend Andee (Black Sugar Transmission), who contributed lead guitars, textures and other sonic detailing. Andee had not only spent some time in Bully as an interim guitarist, but played alongside Matt in Jerry Gaskill (King's X)'s touring band in 2005. The Matt Farley Project is something quite special. Stylistically wide-ranging yet totally cohesive, the music holds together thanks to phenomenal skill, disarming honesty and Matt's ability to boil his influences down to only the essential parts -- the parts that resonate with him. Listen to "Borderline", whose chorus recalls the vocal harmonies of the late Lane Staley, but eschews bombast in favor of the bluesy sensibility of Robert Cray. The verses, meanwhile, are given a subtle, dusty-road delivery that has been missing from mainstream country music for some time. The autumnal "What I Deserve"'s brings to mind the plaintive soul-searching vocal catharses perfected by the great King's X (and their iconic lead singer Doug Pinnick) while giving a nod to XTC's compositional cleverness. But it's when Matt stands in front of the mic with only the barest accompaniment behind him -- as in the gorgeous "I Knew You When" (delicately ornamented by Nashville's John Heinrich on pedal steel) and the austere "Mary" (written for his grandmother) -- that he perhaps shines the brightest as an artist of undeniable ability, conviction and -- that increasingly rare quality -- authenticity.

Influences: beatles, merle haggard, stevie ray vaughan, tom waits, jerry reed, kings x, fishbone, XTC, dio, tommy aldridge, stewart copeland, the cure, pantera, SRV, robert cray, black oak arkansas, alice cooper, stevie ray, dale watson, zz top, prince, king diamond, CDB, skynyrd, kiss, VH (old), albert king, k.d. lang, robert johnson

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