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William Matheny



August 16
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Categories:


The Bootlegger
31 West Church Street
Newark, OH 43055 United States

FREE SHOW in the Bootlegger with William Matheny and his band.

“Cerebral alt. country from an unusually versatile singer.”

— Rolling Stone

“William Matheny is quickly becoming one of independent country music’s most exciting emerging artists.”

— American Songwriter

“Strange Constellations, released last summer, was indeed a tour de force. The singer-songwriter’s combination of heartland rock, Americana, and a keen ear for lyrics is indeed a winner.”

— Wide Open Country

“Moon Over Kenova is a humbling song for any songwriter… A hint at the amazing things to come.”

— No Depression

“Matheny is stepping more and more into the limelight as a viable Americana songwriter and frontman by the moment.”

— PopMatters

“Literary rock’n’roller William Matheny has a knack for spinning stores about roach-infested apartments and social anxiety into indie gold.”

— NPR’s Weekend Edition

“If you’re looking for your new favorite Americana rocker, look no further than the wonderful William Matheny… one full length under his belt with staying power for a classic sophomore LP.”

— Daytrotter

“William Matheny shines on this debut through his highly relatable songwriting and his authentic Appalachian-twanged vocals.”

— Bearded Gentlemen Music

“It’s rare to hear a debut album as accomplished as ‘Strange Constellations’… a fully formed, honest and believable album littered with musical surprises and with lyrics that cut through the everyday stories they tell.”

— Americana UK

“The album allows Matheny to present a story through his lyrics while delivering a sound that is the perfect fusion of alt-country, rock, roots and pop… Using his music as a way to tell stories, Matheny has created an album that is intimate, yet playful and captivating. ”

— Paste

“a stout volume that folds some expert old-school storytelling into smart, nimble songs.”

— Nashville Scene

“Matheny’s music is a furious blend of alt. country rock with all the storytelling mastery you would expect… All of the insight and grit you could want can be found on ‘Strange Constellations’”

— Larry Groce, NPR’s Mountain Stage

“William Matheny’s take on classic, soulful country, melding it seamlessly with alt, pop and more, is never exactly what is seems. It’s subtle and straightforward at the same time, literary and forward thinking Americana steeped in actual emotion – there’s nothing manufactured about it, as tends to be the case within this particular subgenre. It’s an easy listen that never shies away from discussing uneasy topics. The fact that it’s as listenable as it easy points directly to Matheny’s ability to capture more than just sounds of the past, but the feeling that brought this sound to the forefront all those years ago.”

— CincyMusic

It’s fitting that William Matheny has chosen to honor the 15th anniversary of Centro-matic’s tour de force album Love You Just the Same on his new 7-inch: The 2003 full-length from Will Johnson’s four-piece was one of the most acclaimed releases from Misra Records’ first five years, and Matheny has emerged as one of the label’s standard-bearers as it enters closes in on the end of its second decade.

The tribute takes the form of a cover of “Flashes and Cables,” the now-classic from Love You, on the A-side of Matheny’s single. Matheny’s spin is, like so many memorable covers, faithful to the original up to a point—he chose to keep the dramatic shifts in dynamics and picked up the pace only a pinch—but diverges just enough to make it distinct. Gone is Johnson’s martial drumbeat in favor of Matheny’s Spector-informed, lazy swung backbeat. In lieu of Centro-matic’s slow disintegration and off-kilter keys, we get a triumphant guitar solo worthy of J. Mascis as the song winds down. Quality songwriting isn’t threatened by interpretation, and in this new interpretation you’re bound to glimpse aspects of Johnson’s song you overlooked before.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the interpreter is a top-notch songwriter as well: Matheny, on the heels of 2017’s Strange Constellations LP and last spring’s EP “Moon Over Kenova,” is a breakout voice in country-rock, and keeps on proving it. The B-side of the new single, “Christian Name,” manages to turn variations on a theme into three or four distinct hooks, any one of which would have been enough for most songsmiths to hang their hat on. Tom Petty is in there somewhere beneath the world-weary country-rock exterior, but so is the dark-tinged bluesy folk of Lucinda Williams.

For some, Matheny’s tribute to Centro-matic will represent a nostalgic trip; for others it may be an entrée into the music of both Misra mainstays. The thing is, either way, it’s a pair of tracks worthy of play on repeat: Two gems with equal parts twang and tremolo, clever riffs and thoughtful words, delivered with deceptive ease.

– Andy Mulkerin