You’ve got to love social media and the internet. In amongst the bile filled hate and pictures of kittens I find that the glories of the internet have presented me, and many others, with a route to new artists and music like never before. One such was Joe Matera whose last album gave me hours of joy. The Australian guitarist/singer/songwriter has spent a number of years developing his craft and has worked with a number of fab musicians (including the legendary Steve Harley) and has a wonderful, somewhat mellow vibe to his guitar playing and vocal. This meant when the forthcoming EP, “Heart of Stone” crossed my desk I was excited to hear what was next.
September, 2012 saw the release of the CD ‘Creature Of Habit’ Joe’s first full length studio album via W.A.R Productions as well as his first ever European tour in support of the release. The album featured his first lead vocal outing on the track Fallen Angel which was also issued as a European only CD single in January, 2013.
His second full length studio album ‘Terra Firma’ surfaced in January, 2014 on CD via W.A.R Productions in Europe. In May, 2014, Joe undertook an extensive European tour in support of the new album, performing shows in Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Netherlands and the UK. In June and July, 2015, Joe successfully completed his third European tour. The ‘Louder Than Words Tour’ saw live solo performances in Austria, Netherlands and Germany. The tour culminated with a slot on the main stage of the huge ‘Wings & Wheels Festival’ in Heist, Germany. July, 2015 saw the release of Joe’s third full length studio album ‘Louder Than Words’. A much more predominantly vocal based outing, it was issued on CD via W.A.R Productions in Europe.
In October, 2015 Joe signed to Netherlands based record label RVPrecords whom will issue the album ‘Now And Then’ in early 2016. The Benelux only CD release features a collection of Joe Matera’s best selected tracks culled from all his four releases and career to date.
I’ll be honest, the opening of “Intro/V” and the title track tricked me into thinking this was an album with an odd track listing as the third track is an acoustic version of “Heart of Stone”. In fact, I thought I had my music player set to ransom shuffle, until I headed back to the press release and confirmed this is an EP. The balance of the 9 (count them, 9!) tracks on offer include three recorded live in London on a recent European tour (unfortunately I missed Joe’s appearance at The Alma in Bolton).
The beauty of this release, apart from the great song writing and playing, is the slightly understated production. This means that the acoustic and live tracks don’t display the somewhat crammed together style common with this type of release and creates a seamless collection of tracks that truly work together.
Personal favourites are older songs “Fallen Angel” and “Shining Star”, but I suspect that is the effect of familiarity? That said, the more I listen to the EP the more the other tracks burrow into my collective mind. Always a sucker for the guitar parts on a song first, I can hear little hints of Joe’s guitar heroes right across the tracks but that, I firmly believe, is what makes for great artists – taking elements of your inspiration and blending them to become your own style. Vocally, Joe is no heavy metal screamer – but the laid back style blends with the guitar to make the songs just that – songs. At no stage do the individual tracks sound like a fancy guitar solo with some words thrown over it as a disguise, nor lyrics at the front with musicianship a distant second. All in all a really special release.
“Heart of Stone” is out this month and you will find more details at www.joematera.com