For alt-country singer-songwriter Matt Henry the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival is shaping up to be one of his biggest yet, with a string of performances lined up, including the return of his Late Nite Alt showcase, which this year features a swag of incredible special guests. He will also be sharing material from his forthcoming debut album with audiences, as well as performing tracks from his recent EP release Life By Proxy. After a massive 2014 touring and writing material for his new album, the festival shows are a chance for Matt to share himself with audiences and give them an insight into what 2015 holds for this impressive musician.
After graduating from the Academy in 2011, Matt has quickly earned a reputation for his solid live performances and the shows at Tamworth Country Music Festival will be no exception. He says audiences can expect a big dose of honesty when he gets on stage. “My goal as a songwriter and performer is to breakdown any barrier between what I feel and what the listener hears,” he says. “Whether that be a heartfelt song or a rollicking rock song, I will be in it up to my eyeballs.”
The Late Nite Alt concept kicked off last year and it was incredibly well received. Matt wanted to provide an outlet for the alt-country genre to find a home at the festival and is excited about how the upcoming event is shaping up. “It is one of the biggest music genres on the planet right now and yet it is so under serviced in the Aussie market,” he says. “So many fellow alt-country artists agreed – that is why in our first year we were able to land Kasey Chambers, Busby Marou, Lachlan Bryan, Harry Hookey and other artists to come and play. They simply wanted to support the concept and find an alt-dedicated venue in Tamworth. The Tudor Hotel has been wonderful and this year we have three nights and they are going to be gigs everyone is talking about at the festival.”
For Matt, the chance to join forces will fellow musicians and jam is a special part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival each year. “Tamworth has an amazing energy at festival time,” he says. “Country fans are the real deal – they travel far and wide and they are so focused on the music that personalities don’t come into play too much. The fans are so different to the fans of other genres – pop music fans are looking for the next thing that might make them happy, while country music fans are looking for the last thing that did make them happy. It is that nostalgic sensibility that I love in them so much.”
Matt’s EP Life By Proxy was released at the end of 2013 and debuted at number 30 in the iTunes country charts and earned acclaim from industry heavyweights and fans alike. Recorded with ARIA-nominated producer Anthony Lycenko (Pete Murray, Busby Marou), the EP is an apt-representation of what Matt is about as a songwriter. The first single from the EP Living Dangerously was released in early 2014 and received airplay around the country. It was a special time for Matt, especially considering as a youngster, this musician actually stepped away from his instruments for a period of time.
“It has been a long time coming for me as I only picked up the guitar again in 2008 after a long hiatus,” he says. “I spent a good deal of my 20s doing things for others and not really focusing on my own ambitions – hence the title Life By Proxy. I felt life was just kind of happening to me a bit. Anthony was an incredible producer and I was lucky enough to write the first single with my good mate Harry Hookey who was nominated for an ARIA this year.”
With the EP earning Matt new fans around Australia, he is now ready to start laying down tracks for his full length debut album, due out in 2015. In fact, the year is already looking huge for the alt-country musician. “I am doing a few tours including one to Europe in July, which I am excited out,” he says. “I will record an album
before the year is out too. The songs are written and we have started a bit of pre-production at home in Bangalow. I am going to take my time though – I have seen people fall into the pitfalls of rushing things out before they are ready. I guess that is one of the benefits about starting my music journey a little later than some, you are a little older and wiser and realise that sometimes it’s best not to rush.”
Late Nite Alt runs from January 21-23 at the Tudor Hotel. Matt Henry’s individual showcase is on January 22 (see details below).
Saturday 17th January 2015 | 9am Tamworth Services Club, TAMWORTH NSW Writers in the Round www.tamworthservicesclub.com.au
Sunday 18th January 2015 | 3pm
w/ The Bushwackers & women in docs
Monday 19th January 2015 | 11.40am Post Office Hotel, TAMWORTH NSW (02) 6761 3322
Monday 19th January 2015 | 8pm The Family Hotel, TAMWORTH NSW Lou Bradley Album Launch [support] (02) 6765 7722
Tuesday 20th January 2015 | 11am RB Sellars HQ Stage, TAMWORTH NSW www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au
Tuesday 20th January 2015 | 3pm Imperial Hotel, TAMWORTH NSW Brad Butcher Album Launch [support] www.imperialhotel.com.au
Wednesday 21st January 2015 | 1pm Locomotive Hotel, TAMWORTH NSW www.locomotivehotel.com.au
Thursday 22nd January 2015 | 1.30pm Southgate Inn, TAMWORTH NSW www.southgateinn.com.au
Thursday 22nd January 2015 | 10pm Tudor Hotel, TAMWORTH NSW Late Nite Alt, w/ special guests www.tudorhoteltamworth.com.au
Friday 23rd January 2015 | 3.30pm Ibis Styles, TAMWORTH NSW Storytellers
(02) 6765 8361
For more information, please visit www.matthenry.com.au