Matt Larson is determined to avoid the cliché of the sullen, self-involved singer song-writer, both in his music and in his on-stage demeanor. He is thought provoking yet fun, intelligent yet unpretentious. The optimistic, affable tone that typifies his...
Matt Larson is determined to avoid the cliché of the sullen, self-involved singer song-writer, both in his music and in his on-stage demeanor. He is thought provoking yet fun, intelligent yet unpretentious. The optimistic, affable tone that typifies his music is bal-anced and enriched by an underlying complexity and subtlety that make his songs more than a fleeting, superficial pleasure. In concert, he uses his humor, gregarious nature and thoroughly eclectic repertoire of cover tunes to awake and engage everyone within earshot, going so far as to make members of the audience the focus of the show. Matt has been known to accompany his vocals with acoustic guitar, piano, loops, programming, banjo and mandolin. But whatever instrument he chooses, it is the warmth and wit expressed through his voice that reaches out and draws his audience in.
Back Home After A Real Tour by Peoria Journal Star When Matt Larson takes the stage at Eamon Patricks Public House on Saturday, you may want to congratulate him. He survived 8,684 miles in a 31-foot RV with his wife, three young boys and a lab/chow...
March 2008 Album/Music Review by Beyond Race Magazine Matt Larson makes pop music that you and your mom could like. It's cheesy, but in a pleasant, fun way. His voice is soothing and heartfelt, straying away from the cliché of the whiney...
Back Home After A Real Tour by Peoria Journal Star When Matt Larson takes the stage at Eamon Patricks Public House on Saturday, you may want to congratulate him. He survived 8,684 miles in a 31-foot RV with his wife, three young boys and a lab/chow mix — all in the name of music.
Larson, a Bloomington native who also has lived in Peoria, has spent the last few years living a quiet life in Fort Mills, S.C., with his family. His music career was coming along nicely and he had several shows booked on the East Coast but wasn’t too excited about all the back-and-forth traveling it would require.
Larson’s wife Kara suggested they tackle a tour together — as in, more together time than most families ever know. They ended up selling their house in and buying an RV, which Larson calls “a glorified dorm room.”
“Everybody thought we were insane,” Larson said, “but it seemed like a good idea. Family is priority for us, and to really get your career going you have to be out playing a lot. It made sense for us to all be together.”
They stayed on the road for four months, homeschooling their 7-year-old (the other boys are ages 4 and 2) while Larson spent his evenings playing gigs in cities from New York to Washington, D.C. to Canada and the Carolinas. They almost decided to stay put for good in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
“It’s so beautiful,” Larson said of the area. “We were talking about making our way out to Alaska. But we didn’t make it past Illinois.”
The family was visiting Peoria in November when they decided to hang up the driving gloves. The weather was getting colder, and they had enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family; it felt like they had found something they had been missing for awhile.
These days, they are calling Peoria Heights home. The RV is in storage now and the family plans to sell it. Larson is focusing on booking gigs in the area; he has a show Saturday at Eamon Patrick’s Public House.
Larson said a critic has described his mellow, acoustic music as “Ben Folds meets Ben Harper meets Coldplay meets something else. ... If you find a category that I fit, that would be great,” he says.
Larson has created two full-length albums — “Elevator People” (2001) and “This Living Room” (2006) — and currently is working on his third, titled “Space and Time.”
The song writing will be a lot easier now — he didn’t have much of an office in the RV, and Internet and phone service were always spotty.
Although the whole journey may sound crazy to some, Larson is happy they went on the road.
“We stayed in some really nice campgrounds,” he said, and the boys didn’t mind the togetherness.
“If they have rocks and dirt and bugs, they don’t need too much else,” said Larson, laughing as he recalls ticking off about 10 orange construction cones in the RV during a moment of unbridled adventure, his three boys egging him on.
“There are not too many kids that say, ‘Yeah when we were younger our parents sold their house and bought an RV and went on the road,’ ” Larson said. “I think that will be pretty cool for them to talk about — later on, after they’ve completely repressed all of the horrible memories from the trip.”
Journal Star’s Entertainment Editor.
March 2008 Album/Music Review by Beyond Race Magazine Matt Larson makes pop music that you and your mom could like. It's cheesy, but in a pleasant, fun way. His voice is soothing and heartfelt, straying away from the cliché of the whiney singer/songwriter who seems a little too self-involved. Now this doesn't mean Larson doesn't tackle the usual topics of love and loss, but he tries to make it more upbeat. "Cars Are For Driving" seems like it would be placed in a pivotal scene on a WB show with its gut wrenching chorus. Larson has perfected the falsetto, using it like an ace in the hole in a number of songs. "Don't Go Away" is a sensitive piano ballad about asking that special someone to stick around. Larson gets a little folky with the harmonica on "You Won't Let Me Go." You have probably heard the sentiment and the drum line, but it's comforting. It's just the kind of music you want to hear, even if you're too embarrassed to admit it.
Beyond Race Magazine
March 2008 Album/Music Review
by Shannon Carlin
Review: "The Almagest" LSU Shreveport by The Almagest Review: "The Almagest" LSU Shreveport
Current mood: content
This Living Room
As Matt Larson takes the States by storm, SAB brings the singer/songwriter to the Port for the Coffeehouse Series
Derick Jones : Managing Editor
If Ben Folds and Ben Harper had a child, and that child somehow had an orgy with My Morning Jacket and a one night stand with Jason Mraz, I'm pretty sure their prodigy would be named Matt Larson.
I had never heard of Matt Larson until I received a phone call a few weeks back. Wow, I was missing out.
His album, This Living Room, has sent chills throughout every one of my limbs, thus making this review the easiest one ever.
In Distress She" is a soothing, upbeat melody with hints of harmonics at just the right times. "Righteous Virgin" is the ultimate dream sequence melody fix. It's an automatic high that makes me want to dance underneath sheets of linen. Something about curling up in the bed and rolling around with feather pillows just sounds amazing.
This Living Room," his title track, has more of a pop edge - as most singles do, yet it recalls the beasts of summer love, and I guarantee you, should have had a spot on "the OC' soundtrack.
However, "Resolve," is my favorite track. Each lyric is disguised with pastoral and outdoor themes, but upon listening to it numerous times it's about how nature is really one with love - "I will find a way into your heart."
Upon speaking with Larson in a previous interview, he mentioned that one of his tracks, "Lovin' Jon," had a deeper meaning than just face value.
He was a super cool guy, laed a youth group, married his high school sweetheart adn died in a motorcycle accident two weeks post wedding," explained Larson. "I got an e-mail at 3 a.am. one day and wrote the song upon reading the news."
As guest singer Laura Pyle highlights reverberating hymns of devotion and sadness. "Loving Jon" sits high on my "Recently Played" list on my iPod.
Another favorite, "Doubt," leaves a lingering feeling of a pent of car ride where everyone's stories mingle in and out of a long and winding highway.
Though the album itself was released in early 2007, Larson will be playing here at the Port during Common Hour today.
Review: Matt Larson's "This Living Room" by Performermag.com Matt Larson - This Living Room
Produced, engineered and mixed by Matt Larson
Additional production by Al Sergel
Singer/songwriter piano man Matt Larson is quick to note that this album was recorded in Studio A (his house) and Studio B (his garage) - hence the title This Living Room. What emerges is a crisp album of upbeat pop songs, including the title track, which has such a familiar pop feel that it sticks from the first play of the disc. "The Mind Contention" and "Loving Jon" has a squishy tenderness of ballad convention, where simple (but still unique) instrumentation speaks volumes over a mess of sounds.
With "Doubt" and "With You," high octaves complement Larson's soft tenor, and elements of Elton John and Ben Folds radiate throughout with touching echoes of love exclamations. Larson's only problem is there is too much sugar; nothing comes out raw or emotional (just created for the perfect romance). His disc feels like a cheesy movie at times, as with "The One I'm Wanting," a gooey love song that probably caused the singer blush with embarrassment for a few lines.
More deft arrangements are found with "In Distress She," where an upbeat piano meets Larson's fuzzy voice with a intimate '60s feel and organ solo. The beat picks up a melancholy sound with "Righteous Virgin," a display of guitar and violin jams that shows off Larson at his most inventive while still retaining a sharp and workable pop structure. It's this experimentation that Larson needs to find more of next time. (Self-released)
The Heat: Matt Larson by Unsigned The Magazine This Living Room - Matt Larson
By: Ric Hickey
Matt Larson’s sunny disposition shines through in every note he sings and plays. This positive energy also illuminates his otherwise straightforward lyrics. Avoiding abstractions and heavy business, Larson makes simplicity sparkle. Though Larson’s happy tunes only occasionally step outside the mid-tempo Pop category, his confident acoustic guitar playing, affectionate vocal style, and solid hooks are a strong foundation. Setting aside the guitar for a couple songs, Larson proves to be equally adept at piano.
It all clicks with one of these piano-based tunes, the stellar “You Won’t Let Me Go”. Like Ben Folds doing his best Brian Wilson impression, Larson cleverly juxtaposes curiously pessimistic lyrics over a catchy melody made in Heaven. I’ve heard it said that one way of describing mysticism is to say it is the ability to see extraordinary beauty in ordinary things. If that be the case, Mr. Matt Larson may very well be a musical mystic, expressing the joy and wonder of everyday life in his poppy observations.