From Cleveland to Los Angeles, versatile recording artist and singer-songwriter Matt Moody shares bittersweet and vulnerable moments in his debut album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky.'
Matt Moody's songs range somewhere in between rush belt grit and western tropes. His honest and ear-pleasing tunes have landed him on notable stages like Hotel Cafe, The Beachland Ballroom, and Douglas Corner Cafe. Now, he brings themes of hope, desperation, love, loss, betrayal, and ego death to life in his debut 14-track album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky.'
The experience begins with the introductory track, "Shifting Candlelight." The song opens with eerie and spacious synths that drop into an upbeat and somewhat melancholy alternative instrumental. As Matt Moody expresses how, at times, he thinks of swerving into the other lane, he serenades us on this chilling hook with themes of wonder, heartbreak, and raw emotion. This dynamic piece was a stellar way to open the album.
Moving into track number two, "Puttin' It Off," we're met with dreamy and sci-fi synths that drop into a warm and feel-good electro-pop beat. Listening to Matt Moody's tender and passionate vocals, he brings a much lighter theme with lyrics about love, manifesting one's reality, but always finding a way to put it off. This bright and bold song smacks us with another relatable theme of feeling like kingdom come is so far off when you feel you aren't deserving.
Track number three, "I Don't Mind," opens with bright horns, lively drums, warm guitars, and an overall uplifting vibe. As Matt Moody jumps into his verse, he serenades us with passionate lyrics about feeling happy with someone special and making memories with the ones he loves. Even if they're questionable, we'll all be burned to dust in the end, right? This feel-good song arrived just in time for summer.
Slowing things down a bit, the album's fourth track, "Cutting You Loose," mysteriously opens with washy background synths and soft acoustic guitars alongside Matt Moody's angsty vocals. While expressing his woes and the chances he gave to someone dear, he makes some relatable realizations and breaks the bad news. This is another punchy and dynamic track that slowly increases in energy for one hell of an alternative-rock outro.
Jumping into the fifth track, "Graveyard," we're hit with the brightest alternative instrumental through zappy and echoed synths alongside twinkling keys, lively drums, and Matt Moody's smooth vocals. This uplifting tune is pretty clever, considering Moody's lyrics are quite "moody." He sings of wishing he'd known from the start that a relationship would end up in someone's "Graveyard" full of hearts.
Bringing in the groove is track number six, "John Wayne," which smoothly opens with some jazzy undertones through a beautiful brass instrumental, downtempo drums, and warm piano melodies. Listening to Matt Moody's velvety vocals, he passionately sings of feeling better with someone special by his side. This might be our favorite song on the album simply because of the gentle, serene vibe and Matt Moody's intoxicating themes of endless love.
Settling in our native "California," the seventh track opens with upbeat drums and another lively brass section. Matt Moody floats his way into the first verse with lyrics that describe picturesque California and share his musical stylings to show the world what he's got. This track is a true toe-tapper; it has all the groove, energy, and grit we admire about raw alternative rock with a dash of country and folk.
Reaching the album's second half with track number eight, "Driftin' (feat. Ray Flanagan)," this lonely-wanderer-type tune opens with an ethereal introduction that chills the spine instantly. There's so much soul in this track, especially as Matt Moody's instrumentals blossom open on the hook that leaves us swaying to the dreamy sounds. As he sings of wishing things would get better and wondering why they haven't, he blesses us with pure emotion that moves mountains.
The album's ninth track, "Fire Away," takes us into a darker vibe through ominous rock instrumentals that slowly expand into this heavy and cathartic atmosphere. Matt Moody's raspy and powerful vocals expand on honest themes of the darkness and desire he feels when reaching for something larger than himself. Questioning how things ended up the way they did, Moody melts through our speakers in another deeply emotional and gripping tune.
Spicing it up with track ten, "Party in the Valley," we can already tell we'll be blasting this song all summer after a quick listen. Diving deeper, Matt Moody's warm and upbeat alternative rock/pop instrumentals take us into those memorable summer nights. He later transitions into personal lyrics about feeling overwhelmed and drowning in the light. This song has such thrilling energy, perfect for beachside sunsets and other unforgettable moments.
Peeling back even more emotion is the eleventh track, "Shadows," which opens with soft guitars, mid-tempo drums, and Matt Moody's gentle vocals. He brings up themes of wishing to be living the life he dreams of and wanting to let the "Shadows" fall behind. The instrumentals bring us into a sweet sonic escape near the bridge that lifts the soul. Moody ups the emotion and relatability with lyrics about not wanting to die until he can experience all that life has to offer.
"Crashing in the Ocean" with track number twelve, this piece softly opens with lush acoustic guitars and piano melodies alongside soothing down-tempo percussion. Matt Moody's harmonious vocals instantly chill us with his honest lyrics and emotional tones. This song also brings up the theme of death and hoping that everyone knows where his intentions were while on this plane. We appreciate such a heart-tugging cinematic experience that brings heaps of vulnerability.
Onto the thirteenth track, "Chrysanthemum Cowgirl," this song opens on a sweet and slightly country note with twangy electric guitars, soft piano melodies, and gentle drums. Matt Moody describes the unmatched beauty of the chrysanthemum cowgirl and giving her the world on the fertile land they reside on. This dreamy and ethereal piece offers the perfect blend of alternative, folk, and country, sonically serenading us onto cloud nine.
Landing on the album's fourteenth and final track, "Miller Lite (feat. Hannah Stak)," this energetic tune pounces open with quick acoustic guitar strums and upbeat drums. As Matt Moddy hops into the verse, Hannah Stak's bright vocals accompany him while bringing the song an interesting dynamic feel. Both vocalists chant Moody's mantra, "do what feels right,' towards the outro to remind us that going with your gut and trusting your instincts will do wonders.
Experience the pure, vulnerable, and raw emotion of Matt Moody's relatable debut album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Matt Moody. We truly appreciate the vulnerable and relatable feel of your debut album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky.' When did you start creating songs for the album? How long was it in the making?
I started writing for Still a Kid in the fall of 2019. I got the master's back in May of 2021, and the creation process for the visuals has been ongoing since the concept was a conscious thought. In total, it's been about a two and a half year journey.
What inspired the cathartic and honest album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky?' What experiences led you to create it?
I wanted to make an album for the open road; I wanted it to feel like a transformation. This constant searching and never finding, with all the bumps and beauty along the way. A lot of the songs were inspired by traveling through the American West and that novel yet nostalgic feeling you get with tears in your eyes, driving past mountain ranges. We hit about seven different states throughout the writing and recording process. I wrote "Shifting Candlelight" while staying in Monument Valley. What was the most rewarding part about creating the album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky?'
The journey. Being on the road with Nina as often as possible throughout the creation process. We were living everything I was writing about.
Do you have a favorite song from the album, 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky'? What makes that song stand out to you?
"Puttin' It Off" holds a special place in my heart and always will. It kind of sums up everything I was feeling at the time and put it on an open road. When I wrote this, I knew I had a concept, and that's when it all started forming into a solid body of work. Did you want to leave listeners with any thoughts or realizations after hearing 'Still a Kid in a Painted Sky'? What do you hope they experience?
It's yours now.