„You have to make an effort to forget your usual way of doing and considering something, so that you can learn a new way.“ - Scott Matthew
At first glance it may seem surprising that such a gifted song poet comes up with a collection of songs exclusively penned by others on his new studio album UNLEARNED. Because Scott Matthew has earned high respect among critics and fans alike since his self-titled debut in 2008. His previous three solo albums made him stand out from the crowd especially as a songwriter with his highly emotional songs. "Remove what has been learned,the preconception of what you know, so you can view things in a new way and without prejudice", that`s the corresponding translation of the album title. Unlearned, as a title describes the intention of this covers album.
But from first listen of the new album it becomes obvious, that these cover versions are not foreign songs at all, but in a way his very own, original material. "Unlearn", "Forget what you know" ... every song is a blank sheet of paper, which Scott turns into a new symphony of sounds, imagination and emotion. Of course the lyrics and melody persist, but beyond that there is only Scott Matthew...pure. It`s fascinating what visionary energy, what keen individual sense Scott Matthew demonstrates. For example what comes of the originally quite trivial Pop smash "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston is a wonderful, piano-dominated ballad. Yes, even more than that. Scott's version has a distinct tonality , a perfect monument to longing by turning it into sound. Or the incredibly soulful version of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night" Scott sings with his father Ian Matthew as the perfect congenial duet partner.
To focus on highlights from the album would mean not to give fair consideration to every song not explicitly mentioned. Nevertheless, it should be especially noted on two tracks: The wonderfully airy "Smile". Originally recorded by Nat King Cole and written by Charlie Chaplin, in which Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) lends his distinct voice to the duet. Also the goose bump creating version of the seemingly impossible to cover "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division), in which Scott Matthew adds through gentle melancholy arrangement and slowing down of tempo, a completely new, fascinating and touching facet. Exclusively supporting his voice, the sentimental piano by Marisol Limon Martinez and Eugene Lemcio's bass.
It is enigmatic and magnetic. Scott seems to be able to discover, feel and work out in a wide variety of songs the emotional core, always with respect, as it would have probably never have been heard in the original. Even for an experienced listener. „I interpreted these songs as I felt them . I dont want to take credit for these songs existing, but I felt a strong need to show what they made me feel. To elaborate on the lyrics , the intention. To try and show MY truth of the song . It came very naturally to me . Some are more drastic changes than others. some didnt need a "makeover " I just wanted to sing them .“ (Scott Matthew) But it's not "just" Scott's voice, which sews together this collection of songs from so many different backgrounds on UNLEARNED to create a well rounded , seamless flow.
Recorded at Saltlands Studio, Brooklyn, NY. From here originated the soulful arrangements, which are attention grabbing. He utilized fantastic musicians like M. Eugene Lemcio, Clara Kennedy, Spencer Cobrin, Marisol Limon Martinez, or the Portuguese accordionist Celina da Piedade, along with the excellent guitarist Jürgen Stark, a new member in the musical family of Scott Matthew.
14 songs, originally written/recorded by Radiohead to Rod Stewart, from the Bee Gees to The Jesus And Mary Chain, and Neil Young to Roberta Flack. Every single song has a personal meaning for Scott Matthew, each song represents important stages in his life: „My parents, my childhood, my emerging self in adolescents, my rediscovery of what is a great song in adulthood. In a way I have harnessed my life’s timeline and condensed it into a series of cover songs. The discovery as a child I was not alone in longing. That songs are solace, friends. These songs have been my friends and with my dearest friends who helped me make this album, we gently ask you to remove preconceptions and UNLEARN your perception about a song, an artist, a genre. I have set out to find my true essence of these songs. A process of filtering them through myself and moments in my life. They have been UNLEARNED. I could go on but I won’t. Please Enjoy. Love Scott
Release Date: 06/28/2013 · Format: CD/LP(+CD)/DIGITAL · Cat-No: GRCD/LP 770
Scott MatthewTo Love Is To Live To Receive Is To Give
Release Date: 10/28/2011 · Format: EP · Cat-No: GRCD 736
Scott MatthewGallantry's Favorite Son
Release Date: 06/10/2011 · Format: CD / LP · Cat-No: GRCD/LP 723
Scott MatthewThere Is An Ocean That Divides...
Release Date: 04/24/2009 · Format: CD / LP · Cat-No: GR 695