at Wolf Den
Friday, January 26th 2024
“You start out wanting to sound like your heroes,” says Matt Stell, “but my heroes all sound like themselves. They believe what they sing.”
It’s an insight the Arkansas native has long taken to heart. In his case, heroes and influences stretch from Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, through Alanis Morissette and Oasis, to Miranda Lambert and Jason Isbell. But through the endless one-nighters, opening slots, and writers’ rooms that constitute paying dues, he learned what true artists always learn—that the best tribute is not imitation but transformation—finding the place inside that connects with those influences and turns them into a unique and honest voice. He has learned that lesson well.
“The music I make now is mine because I believe it and it’s true,” he says. “That’s what I can contribute, and that’s how I see myself fitting in. The currency of the realm is authenticity, and I think there’s room for mine.”
That’s something he proved with back-to-back #1s that put him in the forefront of this era’s artist-songwriters, and he proves it again with One Of Us, an EP that establishes him as an artist of real depth and vision.