(http://www.bluegrass.com/telluride/csky. html) (http://www.sailingsouthernground.com/) So far we’ve met “intimate Mat” and “rock band Mat.” now, nashville based songwriter Mat Kearney says we’ll meet a hybrid of the two. nearly a year-and-a-half removed from his last release—2009’s City of Black and White—Kearney is turning his attention to laying out some new recordings. It’s good news for fans who long for new music as well as those who particularly found themselves lured in by Kearney’s debut, Nothing Left to Lose. “I’ve been writing stories a lot like I did on Nothing Left To Lose,” says Kearney. “I feel like it’s back to some storytelling and the music is incredibly personal, but it’s also big and it has some of the maturity that I’ve learned about band stuff on City of Black and White. I’m also writing a lot in my living room with a drum machine and acoustic guitar, so it’s got this rootsy rhythm to it. I’m also messing with this country melody stuff, but then there’s this hip-hop thing that I’ve returned to from Nothing Left to Lose.” Kearney’s current tour features a return to his roots as well—a guy and his guitar cruising along the interstates in search of the next gig. It’s an intentional move made out of a longing to find that innocence again and connect with the fans in a more meaningful way. “I love providing a killer show for people, but I also missed providing that intimate moment that you get from seeing people on the road,” says Kearney. “Most of the driving force is being able to bounce off of the grid and do whatever I want with a show. I can play whatever song I want in what- ever order I want for however long that I want. With a band, you just can’t do that all of the time.” Kearney recently married earlier this summer, giving him a new set of experiences to write from and he says he recognizes that it will inevitably lead to new songs. Yet it’s the discipline of writing often that allows those tracks to spring forth. “There are these parts of your life where you’re like, ‘Wow, I’ve turned a page.’ That always leads to good things in writing and creativity because you’re experiencing new ideas and new feelings. Yet you can never predict it. I really just try to show up and write every day. “The more that I write, the more chances I have for coming up with something great,” he continues. “ I’m in this mode where I just want to tell people stories to anyone within an arm’s reach, so that’s what my next record will be about. It will be about the stories that exist all around me— whether that’s myself or my friends or my family.” —Matt Conner www.matkearney.com Mat Kearney Crossover highlights The act: Trent Dabbs The site: www.trentdabbs.com The sound: Beautifully layered radio- ready pop The Buzz: Founder of Ten Out of Tenn pares things down to three with Andrew Belle and Andy Davis on latest tour. The act: Sean Watkins The site: www.seanwatkins.com The sound: Former nickel Creek member maintains same pop brilliance The Buzz: new side project with Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) and Luke Bulla (Lyle Lovett) entitled Works Progress Administration. The act: Andrew Belle The site: www.myspace.com/ andrewbelle The sound: Singer/songwriter recalls Greg Laswell’s melodic structures The Buzz: Four songs featured on “Grey’s Anatomy” has the nashville resident blowing up. CCM 53