I had the pleasure of seeing Matt Bednarsky play live in April, near the time of my birthday. He’s back in Florida now promoting his new album, Two, and I had the good fortune to make it to one of his house concerts this past Sunday.
If you haven’t heard Matt’s music before, you really need to take a listen. The songs are soulful. They tug at your heart strings. Sometimes it’s in a joyful way. Sometimes it’s in that bittersweet way.
He started the night with a cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” that was a slow, but moving way to get things going. After that he moved into “Can I Rely on You?” This is an upbeat song reminding us of all of those people that we can rely on in life, but also that some people come and go in our lives.
He followed this song up with a story about when he damaged his guitar near Waynesville, OH. He found he could rely on a guitar repairman (who is also the Mayor of this town), who did a two-day repair job in only three hours, leaving Matt’s guitar looking immaculate.
Matt then moved on to another song I love: “Movin’ in, Movin’ out, Movin’ On.” This one reminds us that we can’t fight the winds of change, and we have to roll with the waves that come along with our crazy lives. (This one tends to make me cry.)
According to Matt, a good song has two key components: story and emotion. He’s a master of bringing those two things together. You can hear it in his voice. You can see it in his face. You can hear it in how he plays the guitar.
After playing “Heavy,” Matt played another of my favorites: “Grand.” This is another tear jerker for me. This is a wonderful song that reminds of of what is really important in life.
Matt ended the set with a special guest. When he was here in April, he played at a local elementary school and one of the students played triangle while he played Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
The second set felt a little more upbeat to me. He started it by holding a drawing where the winners chose the names of three musical artists. There were two winners, so there ended up being six names, and Matt made a medley out of all six of those artists. He did it on the spot, and it was pretty awesome to listen to him weave together Jackson Brown, Paul Simon, and whoever else was in the mix.
He then moved on to more of his originals: “Live Now,” “Ready or Not,” a song about circumstance, and “Balance.”
“Ready or Not” is moving (i.e. tear-inspiring) to me. Man, how I want to have some of that security I had when I was a kid. Don’t we all want to know we are loved and that everything is going to be alright?
Matt then moved on to a Beatles medley, that was pretty awesome. A little “Come Together” with some “Blackbird,” along with some other songs… Good stuff.
He ended the set with “Life Goes On.” Matt told us that this song was inspired after his grandfather passed at a ripe, old age. He and his family were having drinks at a sports bar after the funeral, and they ended up talking about basketball. Just like that… Talk turned from grandpa to basketball. And so it goes. Life goes on…
Of course we asked for an encore. He played a medley of a popular reggage song (“One Love”?) and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Matt is a fantastic musician and a great guy. Certainly check out his music, but maybe you’ll want to host him for a house concert when he’s in your neck of the woods! A friend of mine was converted, and she’s hosting him in February!