Review: Matthew McNeal – When You’re Down

Matthew McNeal - When You're Down

“They call me a dreamer/with my head in the stars/and you ain’t worth a second glance/‘cause life moves way too fast”
– Matthew McNeal

-Greg’s Take-

As the days grow shorter and the shadows seem to stretch longer in the afternoon sun there is warmth that comes from spending your days closer to home; a beauty in an evening on the porch staring at the fading sun.

To capture this feeling in a sound is a pretty impressive feat. For one singer/songwriter from rural Texas, it just comes naturally.

Matthew McNeal has taken a range of emotion and his guitar and released his first “official” album When You’re Down.

From the lamenting of “Mary Lou” to the rolling “Prodigal” When You’re Down picks you up with a deeply seated sense of honesty. McNeal’s words echo with reflection of his experiences and lament another day gone. He sings “I write my words in broken cursive/with the pen my father made” but backs it with a heavy bass, giving his sound an attention grabbing boldness. His sound is ornately Middle-America combed through gospel rock experiences and it plays out in all the best ways.  The heavy handed acoustic guitar and dynamic build ups treat you to more than just rock and more than just Americana.  One minute you’re stomping your foot to a good time, the next you’re sipping a beer sitting idly by watching the night creep up and the day sink to the horizon not saying a word.

Matthew McNeal exudes a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll with When You’re Down. Not in a creepy brother/sister from Utah way, but more of a culmination of trials, failures and successes as a musician. His writing is very much from the heart when he approaches the subject of family (“Mary Lou” and “Thank You”), love (“December” and “Soot in the Sand”), battles with depression and overcoming it all with the power of love (“When You’re Down”).  When You’re Down is powerful but not overbearing; and even though it was release a few months ago, it is a must have for summer’s end.

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