Matt Brown may hail from the small Pacific Northwest town of Washougal, Washington, but his music carries a soulful bluesiness that puts him more in line with the place he now calls home: Nashville. Armed with his baby blue Fender Telecaster – “Stella Blue” – the singer-songwriter is catching the attention of audiences far and wide with his feel-good blue-eyed soul. Brown’s music tends to be light-hearted and universal, the kind of stuff that will immediately put a smile on the face of just about anyone. Maybe it’s his influences, which range from Ray Charles to Bill Withers, not to mention a bluesy guitar style that at times feels reminiscent of Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan. Brown’s songs are fresh but familiar and tend to move the heart as much as the head and feet.
Proof of this can be heard on his new album Walk Into The Light (July 22nd, Rock Ridge Music), and especially the insanely catchy tune “Let It Show”, which we have a special sneak preview of right here on Glide. With a rollicking organ and bright, brassy flourishes to complement the infectious beat, “Let It Show” feels like it was crafted for the sole purpose of getting the audience on their feet and clapping along to the music. We caught up with Matt Brown to find out more about the inspiration and process behind the song. Read the interview and give a listen to “Let It Show”…
What inspired the song “Let It Show”?
This song is about when someone comes along and pulls you out of your shell. It’s about that person that makes you do things you normally wouldn’t do. My co-writer, Ryan Root, and I were talking about how we’ve let a lot of cool moments slip away because of how shy and reserved we tend to be. It’s sad thinking about how those moments and people are gone forever. This is a song about those few exceptions of people who have inspired us to change for the better and get out of our comfort zones. It’s that feeling when you just can’t help but “let it show” how you feel in the moment regardless of how it comes across. For me, it’s usually awkward.
Was it easy or difficult to write and why?
This song was written quickly. Ryan Root and I write a lot of songs together and this was one that we could both relate to. I believe we started writing this while at a rooftop bar which set the scene of the song. This song is easy to digest which made it easy to write. It’s fun and lighthearted. I think the music gives away the emotion right away. We intentionally didn’t want to overthink this song. It has an old feeling beat that’s quite linear, but that’s all the song needed in my opinion.
How was the recording process for that track? Any great studio stories to share?
We tracked the song live to give it a more human feel. The song needed the live feel of a band to make it less perfect sounding. It has that classic doo-wop loose feel. When I was singing vocals, my producer, Andy Hunt, told me to “smile and sing like you’re at a party.” This actually helped give the song the right feeling. I had a few friends over to my house and we did some oohs and ahhs that you can hear at the end. That was another party.
Did the final version come out like you thought it might before you went in to record it?
The final version came out great. We had Jon-Paul Frappier arrange a horn section and come into the studio to play. The horns gave the song that old-school vibe that it needed.
Have you played “Let It Show” live yet? If so, how has audience reaction been to it so far?
I have played the song a few times live. This song has a chorus that is great and it includes the audience. It has a lot of energy and I even put a tambourine around my foot to make it more of a party. I played it solo for an audience at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and got the whole room singing the chorus. It has been received well.
Photo: Cameron Powell