MATTHEW PERRYMAN JONES
A performing songwriter by trade, Matthew Perryman Jones is actually a seeker, at heart. With each entry in his discography, his musical and moral compass points toward an artistic horizon he has yet to explore. Sometimes, he turns his gaze to examine his own inner world. Other times, he looks to the inspirations found in the letters Vincent Van Gogh penned to his brother Theo, in the idea of duende as proffered by Federico García Lorca, and in the poetic verses of Sufi poets Hafiz and Rumi.
Of his most recent release, American Songwriter wrote that, “MPJ’s songwriting acumen could easily be used as a musical template to demonstrate how less can be so much more. [He]sounds cinematic and slowly worms its way inside your brain, feasts upon your emotions, and ultimately burrows down into your soul.” It could be said that Matthew makes soul music — not based on how it sounds, but on where it originates and where it resides.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Matthew grew up in Georgia and cut his artistic teeth in the Atlanta music scene before heading north to Nashville. His debut release, Nowhere Else But Here, dropped in 2000, followed by three subsequent albums — Throwing Punches in the Dark (2006), Swallow the Sea (2008), and Land of the Living (2012) — and three additional EPs as well as a handful of singles. Songs from across his catalog have been featured in dozens of film and TV placements, and tours have taken him across the U.S. and abroad to share stages with legends like Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin, as well as the Ten Out of Tenn songwriter collective of which he is a part.
Now, Matthew is gearing up to release his fifth album, alongside producer Josh Kaler, focused on genius loci— the spirit of place. Written across the country throughout 2017, and funded by generous fans contributing to a Pledge Music campaign, the record was finished in early 2018. As he chases the ever-retreating horizon, Jones will stop, listen, and capture when and what the spirit of each place calls out to him.
Born in Jonesboro GA to a family of 9 children that had little exposure to music apart from a church hymnal, Molly Parden’s career in music is something of a mystery—something that happened to her more than it was ever anything she set out for. When none of her siblings took a particular interest in music at a young age, Molly inherited a violin built by her great uncle when she was 8 years old— discovering her lifelong love for music through the haunting simplicity of melodies long before she ever heard pop music, picked up a guitar, or started singing songs of her own.
Molly moved to Nashville in the spring of 2013 and soon discovered she could pay her bills as a singer, providing her memorable and uniquely captivating harmony vocals on over 50 records in just a few years. Though she rarely performed her own songs live, her increasing number of fans and champions—everyone from her mom to Ryan Adams to her fellow songwriters in Nashville’s vibrant underground— encouraged her to finally make a record of her own.
What resulted is a voice that is as haunting as it is comforting, beautifully raw and yet effortlessly just out of reach— a disarming union of aloofness and intimacy that runs throughout her songs, lulling the listener with its cadence of melancholic melodies and searching phrases that whirr in your head long after her songs have gone silent.
But for all its unapproachable beauty, the heart of Molly’s music is humble and profoundly human. They are songs that remind us that heartbreak isn’t simply another marketable human emotion, but is more like a familiar place—a sacred space within all of us. We are all born with a deep sense of loss, and great art has a way of articulating the personal tragedy inside of us. It makes listening to Molly’s songs feel like falling into a dream or a distant memory— a beautiful reminder of something we’ve known all along.
-James McFetridge Wilson