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the matthew show: News

January's Acoustic Surprise - January 7, 2010

When I was but a sprout, I used to raid my parents' old LPs for classic comedy albums by Bill Cosby, Brother Dave Gardner, Jonathan Winters, and other oddballs. One of my favorite acts from that era was The Smothers Brothers, although I could never figure out a way to do one of their songs without sounding really crappy in comparison to the original.

Took a while, but I've come up with a fun version of an old SmoBro goodie, Mediocre Fred.


The track is also available at the Music page on this site.


non-matthew show shows - December 21, 2009

I'm playing around town on bass and guitar in December and January with the Broken Promises and Fish Fry Bingo, love to see you there.

The Broken Promises:

Saturday, December 26th, 10PM - Lola's Stockyards in Fort Worth (Van Darien opens)

Friday, January 15th, 9PM - Lola's Stockyards in Fort Worth

Friday, January 22nd, 9PM - The Longhorn Saloon in Fort Worth

Friday, January 29th, 9PM - The Longhorn Saloon in Fort Worth

Fish Fry Bingo:

Thursday, January 14th, 9PM - Absinthe Lounge in Dallas

Saturday, January 30th - White Rock Coffee in Dallas

New KERA Commentary - December 10, 2009

Aired this week:
I can't keep myself to myself.

December's Acoustic Surprise - December 8, 2009

Agnostic though I may be, I do still enjoy me some Christmas. Problem is, everyone sings the same damned Christmas songs over & over again all month long until you want to punch Kris Kringle in his big red nose.

In 1999 I was working at, an online used CD store. The real curse of working in those places is the same as the benefit: You see everything that comes in. One day we got this curious little disc by Susan McKeown & Lindsey Horner called Through the Bitter Frost & Snow. It's a collection of mostly obscure holiday songs, and as with most odd little discs, it ended up going home with me.

I have attempted to record Song of Forgetting several times over the years, but was never quite satisfied with the result until now. It's a great song, and one that I hope will give you not only holiday cheer, but a respite from the Big Yuletide Machine.

click HERE to download and vote for the free track

And like Christmas, it will only be available on this site for this month. But never fear, you can always find it (and all previous Acoustic Surprises) on

Peace on earth and other utopian claptrap. Have a merry one.

November's Acoustic Surprise - November 5, 2009

November's Acoustic Surprise actually has a little bit to do with the News item listed below. The Mambo's webcast is hosted by one John Rody, who was a longtime DJ at KZEW ("the Zoo") in Dallas back in the deep, dark 1980s. The Zoo was a great station, not least because it broadcast a syndicated program out of California called The Dr. Demento Show.

Dr. Demento played a huge variety of oddball tunes from both professional and amateur acts, and introduced me to artists as disparate as Weird Al Yankovic, Tom Waits, and Captain Beefheart, among a zillion others. One such artist was Neil Innes, who was part of the Bonzo Dog Band and a frequent Monty Python collaborator (he's the one singing the "Brave Sir Robin" song in Monty Python and the Holy Grail). No one mixes melancholy and insanity better, and that combo is on full display in this month's Acoustic Surprise, How Sweet To Be An Idiot

Click HERE for the free download


live at Mambo's Wednesday 11/4 - October 28, 2009

Bringing the trio for a special show at Mambo's in Fort Worth, hosted by John Rody & Tom Urquhart. We'll be webcasting it here, for those outside Funkytown:

See you there.

UPDATE: Videos are up HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.


New Broken Promises Shows - October 21, 2009

I usually reserve this space for items that are directly matthew show-related, but I thought I'd mention that I'll be doing two sets with my country band, The Broken Promises, in Deep Ellum this week.

First we're taking the stage with the Marfalites at the Double-Wide on Saturday, October 24th at 10PM. This is a great place, and a good time is guaranteed:

Then we'll be at Adair's in Dallas on Monday, October 26th, 9:30 PM. Monday Night Football never sounded so good:

We're trying to get that band off the ground, and any whooping and hollering that can be brought to bear would certainly cement a good first impression at either or both of these fine venues.

Love to see you there.

October's Acoustic Surprise - October 6, 2009

As you know, these past months (and indeed years) have been an exploration into the new music economy. I remember well the opening salvos in 1999 with the launch of, and a couple of years afterwards the great Gillian Welch & David Rawlings wrote a song on the subject of what might be to come:

Click HERE for the free download.

Here we are nearly a decade later trying to figure out the answer. May as well sing about it.


Get your Goggle on - September 21, 2009

the matthew show trio will be doing a special outdoor show at the Fort Worth Arts Goggle on Saturday, October 3rd. It'll be near the intersection of Park Place and 8th Avenue in one of FW's coolest neighborhoods:

Showtime's 5PM, love to see you.

Double Header - September 7, 2009

Thanks to those of you who came out to our triple threat last month at the Longhorn Saloon, we'll be making a return trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards on Saturday, September 19th. This time we're at Lola's, and it's two bands worth of trio goodness:

Doors are at 8:00, the matthew show's the opener at 9:00, then our buzzworthy country outfit The Broken Promises takes the stage around 10:30 and plays till the last boot has scooted.

See you there.

September's Acoustic Surprise - September 4, 2009

My discovery of Leonard Cohen came very slowly, over a long period of time. I'd heard and liked R.E.M.'s version of First We Take Manhattan in the early '90s, then the famous Jeff Buckley rendition of Hallelujah in all its ubiquity. I knew both were by Cohen, but for some reason I didn't bother to track down the source material.

Then an odd thing happened. On a whim, I bought a used copy of Don Henley's Actual Miles, a greatest hits compilation. It had a hidden track that turned out to be my favorite song on the record. But being a hidden track, there was no information about its author, or even its title, anywhere on the disc. Somehow it didn't sound like a Henley composition to me. I did some digging and found out that it was, lo and behold, a Leonard Cohen song entitled Everybody Knows. What's funny is that I'd heard Concrete Blonde's version ages before and it hadn't clicked with me at all. Sometimes the medium is the message.

Anyhow, I finally learned the damn thing and started incorporating it into my live shows. It's a fine tune, and I'm happy to present it as the Acoustic Surprise for September:

Click HERE for the free download.

matthew LIVE on new show - August 31, 2009

You may recall that back in October of last year, I made an appearance on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe. Well, dig this, she's got a new show called Live and Kicking, which features a half-hour live performance by a Second Life musician.

I'll be featured on the second episode. We're taping it at my longtime SL haunt Luxor Stage, so come get yourself a spot in the studio audience. The performance is on Tuesday, September 1st at 9PM SLT (Pacific time).

Love to see you there.


Check out the video:

Triple Threat - August 10, 2009

So check this out: ALL THREE of the bands I'm in will be playing at the Longhorn Saloon in Fort Worth on Friday, August 28th. Glad my calluses are in good shape.

The lineup is thus:

the matthew show - 9:00
James Dunn & the Western Set - 10:30
The Broken Promises - 12:00

It'll be a good time all around. Info about the venue here.

See you there.

August's Acoustic Surprise - August 1, 2009

I'm not one of these people with a photographic memory. My recollections of past events are generally fairly spotty. However, if something happened more than once, I'm more likely to remember it.

This is why I have a very clear memory of being planted in front of a small TV in my parents' house playing Legend of Zelda in the mid-1980s. The bigass headphones cupped my ears, and on the turntable was a Simon & Garfunkel album. Kathy's Song, one of my favorite tunes from that memory, is this month's Acoustic Surprise:

Listen & download HERE.
Picture hearing this while avoiding some chore, say, mowing the back 40, even though you'll miss Star Trek: The Next Generation if you don't get off your ass soon and get it done.

Remember, the tune's only up till the end of the month. After that, it goes the way of your childhood and never returns. Why yes, it's a did you know?


Special show with Kaklick Martin on Thursday - July 29, 2009

Tomorrow, there’s a bit of a treat for longtime SL music aficionados. I’ll be doing a special joint show with Kaklick Martin, one of SL’s most venerable musical institutions, at Fibber Magee’s in the Dublin region. We’ll be doing the show from my house, since he’s in town visiting. Ought to be a good’un. 5PM SLT (Pacific time) is the magic number. Those unfamiliar can check out Kaklick here:
More very soon...

July's Acoustic Surprise - July 4, 2009

In late 2004, I answered a Craigslist ad for a bass player. I ended up doing several shows with the man who placed the ad, one Doug Kwartler, and he even played bass for me on one occasion in NYC. He's one of the finest songwriters I know, and his voice can be heard as one of the interviewees on february.

Silver Meteor is one of my favorite Doug tunes, and it's now the Acoustic Surprise for July:

Check it out here.
Remember, the tune is only available till the end of July, at which point it will slip away to the land of Osiris and his dancing corpse brides.

May the Fourth be with you.

June's Acoustic Surprise - June 3, 2009

Though it’s a couple of days late, I have finally posted June’s Acoustic Surprise:
In 2005, I did a show at the Conklin Barn in Long Island (which I wrote about here). At that show, I discovered an incredibly talented individual named John-Flor Sisante, whose career I have followed with great interest since then. Though his first album came out about the time my first record did, he hasn’t yet released a follow-up (owing most likely to his pursuit of a graduate degree). He has, however, regularly posted new tracks to his MySpace page, which have blown me away.

One of those tracks is the one I have just covered for this month’s Acoustic Surprise, entitled Midnight. It does what John-Flor accomplishes so well, making sophisticated things out of simple ones.

As usual, the Acoustic Surprise is only available for one month, after which its digital ash is tossed into a digital urn. Or as Mr. Popeil might say, download now while supplies last...

matthew LIVE in Fort Worth - June 1, 2009

Doing a last-minute show in Fort Worth this Friday, June 5th, opening for the venerable Villain Vanguard, a band which features an old matthew show associate, Ron Geida (last seen playing on The Skyline Hotel):
C'mon out, it'll be a hell of a time:

Pics: matthew live at Luxor - May 21, 2009

Insane proptasticness courtesy of the inimitable Crap Mariner:

Pics: matthew live at the Clocktower - May 7, 2009

Check out these shots from the craziest SL show I've ever played, bar none:

What Is This Crap?
Many thanks to Crap Mariner for the beautiful madness.

May's Acoustic Surprise - April 30, 2009

This month, partly out of bloodymindedness, partly because of recent close proximity to Baptists, I present to you my cover of Hayes Carll's She Left Me For Jesus:
Grab your King James (or NIV, whatever makes you happy), kick off your shoes & throw 'em in the floor.

As always, this tune will only be up for one month, after which its ruin will be smote upon the mountainside, and from the shadows of cyberspace will appear its successor.

The Next Four Days - April 24, 2009

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
It has been nearly a month since I first contacted you about my fundraising drive to cover startup costs for my independent music career. In the weeks since, many of you have generously donated, bringing the total to $720, a substantial sum. For those who have given, you have my sincerest gratitude, and I will be contacting you soon to make sure you get your personal show, signed EP, and private mailing list membership.

On April 28th, the drive will close. Some of you will be unable to help, and believe me, I understand that. I have known near-Dickensian levels of cashlessness in my life, and those were in economic boom times. But I will say that I have been surprised by the fact that several of those who have given were the ones I least expected to be in a position to do so. I expect that their pledges may have had an impact on their grocery shopping this month. To know that their belief in me was worth a real sacrifice in their lifestyle is extremely awe-inspiring, and humbling.

Priorities are interesting things. Back when my son was an infant and I was staying at home with him instead of holding down a dayjob, we only had my wife’s income, and she was making less than she had in many years. I was surviving largely on beans & rice, considerably less expensive than the baby’s formula. Yet when our local public television station was having a pledge drive, I couldn’t help but donate. They provided a real, valuable service to me and my son, giving us educational programming for free, and easing my burden during long days in our tiny apartment. It made that month a little less comfortable economically, but the absence of Sesame Street would’ve been far more painful.

Now, I am not remotely comparing myself to the venerable creations of Jim Henson & Company, nor even to Captain Kangaroo. I offer the above as an illustration of personal value, and the relationship between those who create and those who rely on their creations. I have heard from many of you that something I wrote and performed touched your lives. That is incredibly inspiring, and is a primary reason why I have persisted in creating music all these years, despite the attendant expense and sleep deprivation.

If you’ll pardon an extended nautical metaphor, the music business is undergoing a massive hurricane-like transformation. The winds howl, mighty vessels are tossed, Gilligan grasps the gunwales with knuckles as white as his hat. But I am determined to pilot my tiny musical craft through the chaos and out the other side, by using both online and non-virtual performing and new ways of distributing my music, and any other good idea that comes along. The old maps are no good; I’ve had to throw them out and take my own sightings. And so far, I’ve gotten farther than I expected to while staying close to the shoreline, in sight of my dayjob.

But I can’t get any farther that way; there are many more fish out there, if I can just cut loose and find them. I want to do more than I presently can. And you have the power to make that possible:
We share many of the same goals. You don’t want to wait years between releases any more than I do. You are as tired of the crap that gets spewed from major labels as I am, and you have searched for alternatives away from mainstream channels. We have found each other. Now we can work together. If by example we can construct even a piece of the new music industry’s platform, while creating music that speaks to individual humans and not slices of a marketing pie chart, what would it be worth to you? Only you can say. But even the smallest contribution will bring that future a little bit nearer for me, and for every other musician who might decide to follow my path.

Thanks, as always, for your time,


Create the Future - April 2, 2009

A word…

It has been common knowledge for the last decade that the old music industry is dying a slow, horrible death. There is no standard business model for musicians anymore. Those of us who wish to pursue our craft must invent our own wheels, though we’ve been given amazing digital tools that we’ve never had before to help us. Provided we have the time to use them.

During the past nine years, building awareness of my music has been my second job. That labor has paid off; I now have a substantial base of listeners, contacts, and skills. Each new notice brings more response, and each new performance brings more word-of-mouth and more sales.

And now, I can finally say that a transition is possible. A move from pursuing music part-time to making it my life’s work. Interest in and awareness of the matthew show has begun to multiply. The iron has been getting hotter every time I touch it. A rapidly increasing number of people, indicators, and events are encouraging me to strike now, if I can.

And so:
I create what I do because it resonates with you, those who understand where I’m coming from. You know that I am not speaking in a vacuum. I am saying things that need to be said, to people who need to hear them. Art is not a boomtime luxury. It’s what gets us out of old mindsets, and into new, improved selves, ready to push forward into the wilderness that lies ahead.

Few artists seem to truly understand that their old world is dying. If music is to survive, new trails must be blazed by those willing to take risks. I want to take music directly to people who seek out new ideas in unfamiliar places, to stake my future as a musician on taking music outside of smoky clubs and badge-laden events full of pretty people. On taking it everywhere else that I can, online and off. Even though the financial rewards are uncertain and nobody has a road map for me to follow.

And even if I don’t have certainty, I do have reasons to hope that this may work, and a network of fellow travelers in virtual worlds, podcasting, internet radio, and other online technologies who are even now making a sustainable place for themselves and other artists and creators.

We are not done with the brick-and-mortar music world. But it, too, will have to change, and is changing even now, with house concerts, internet-driven meetups, and more direct artist-to-fan interaction. The old gatekeepers are being driven aside by the new one: You.

If you believe in this vision as I do, I encourage you to donate to the startup costs of my venture at the link above. I intend to provide an example of what a post-music-industry musician looks like, delivering my music in a personal, direct way, and avoiding the trappings of unnecessary overhead, fake glamour, and tedious hipsterism.

I have many projects, including a series of docu-pop podcasts, already in production, that just need my time and attention to make it into the world. I have offers to play more shows across more platforms at more times of day, increasing awareness into Europe and Asia, where there’s already been proven interest, offers that, till now, I haven't been able to say "yes" to.

$1,500 worth of donations is what I’m asking for in that link above, and it's not really a lot of money. And it’s not an amount I would ask from any one person. What I’m asking is for you to make an investment into something you already find value in, and would like to have more of. Be as selfish as you like. In fact, you’ll receive some measure of reward fairly quickly.

Remember that Fundable only collects pledges if the goal is met. Spread the word to anyone you’ve ever shared my music with, or share it with those who you believe would enjoy it.

All donors will receive a signed EP with exclusive tracks recorded especially for this project. You will get on a special mailing list that will give you priority notification of any future releases. You will have the option of a private streamed or in-house concert (depending on geography). You will be publicly and/or privately thanked (according to your preference). I do not forget a kindness, and if you show faith in me, I will be that much more driven to justify it.

But what you will also receive is the chance to see the creation of something new, and to know that you are responsible for it. As a creator, I have experienced that feeling, and it is irreplaceable. If my work is something you value in your life, help create more of it, and enrich your life further.

Make more of what you love. It’s a nice thought, and now more than ever, it can become a reality.



April's Acoustic Surprise - April 1, 2009

No fooling:
This month features a cover of Good Old Days by the venerable Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E, also known as the guy behind oddball rock outfit Eels. It's a song for our times.

As always, the Acoustic Surprise is only up for free download until the end of the month, at which point it disappears into the cyber-ether and gets replaced with the new model.

Have at it...

matthew merchandise - March 23, 2009

I've had calls for this sort of thing for many years, but only just now figured out what the hell I'm doing:
At the above link, you will find t-shirts & mugs bearing matthew-related content. Let me know what works for you, and what doesn't.

Above all, let me know what else you'd like to see. I'm mulling the possibility of signed and/or framed lyric prints, plus a variety of other personalized stuff.

Lemme know,

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