Matt Epp's 'Shadowlands' welds country rock blues and Americana

'Shadowlands' Album Cover, Matt Epp

Born in the Canadian Prairies, veteran singer-songwriter Matt Epp is renowned worldwide for his brutally honest lyrics, engrossing storytelling, and warm vocals.

Here, he brings his lively live performances straight to the comfort of your home with his 10th studio album, Shadowlands.  The new album defines Epp’s new growth as a musical artist, belying his experiences and offering his challenges as a musician, who for the first time is asking questions he never readily had the answers to, but resolving to be unafraid to ask them anyways.

Centered upon an internalized place-setting, Shadowlands is Epp’s conduit into letting his listeners escape into the recesses of a place less traveled by.  Epp lets his audiences be transported by a hidden side to this world, a place where we can be seen in a way we never were before.  With Shadowlands, he helps unleash in us a different side to us.

Shadowlands opens up the show-stunner, “Runaway,” as the song starts off right off the bat with its awe-inspiring and uplifting sounds.  The great coalescing of folk and Americana gives off a happening polished cadence.  Waves of dynamic rock are melded together into a country bliss, a mesh of uproariously spirited country rock blues.  The catchy and upbeat tunes pave the way on this fiery and spirited release.  A grand and epic guitar solo erupts half-way into the track, while layers of harmonious background vocals fuse together to make an ecstatic wall of energy.

“Hit The Ground” contains a contagious folk country blues sound with a soaring country vibe to this resounding ballad.  This heartfelt song is imbued with a whole lot of warmth and a striking cadence as Epp reminisces over his past love as an old photograph takes him down memory lane.

On “The Bell,” the melodic twang of guitars accompany the rhythmic bassline, and the steady sidling in on the drums as Epp pays ode to his special girl, thanking her for making him the man he is today, and inspiring him in spite of himself.

The next track, “Mercy” has a darker vibe with a gritty appeal.  The hum of the harmonica offers up a more straight up bluesy approach.  The song has a melancholy sound that dives into a haunting cadence.  The acoustic guitar riffs really give off a dynamic feel.  Altogether the rock vibe is melodic-driven as the guitar, bass, and drum harmonies collect together in a passionate vibe.

“North Country” starts off with the dramatic drumming from the acoustic guitar.  Next the drums, keys, and bass join in, upping the great simmering feel on this rocking ballad.  The keys give a harmonious backbone to the song as the sounds of the sax trace the track mid-way into the song.  A great spiraling effect from the electric guitars accompany the soaring feel coming from the synths.

“Unnatural” is a great melding of country rock runes fueled by a socially conscious message that is uplifting and empowering.  The track is imbued by a smoldering and haunting vibe filled with a spirited stance and an energetic cadence.  The soaring sounds coming from the electric guitar riffs go on to support a stamina-induced diatribe filled with fervor and passion.

“Uncharted Waters” starts off with some deft finger-work on the acoustic guitar.  The lone guitar strumming and Epp’s vocals make a striking combination on this highly dynamic song.  Amplified with its simplified feel, the stripped-down approach adds a certain resonating quality to the quiet but fierce track.  The sounds of the harmonica add to this resilient quality, weaving exuberantly throughout the song.

“Good Lover” begins on an up-keyed note with an upbeat and catchy feel to the cadence.  There is an energetic melding of instruments from the electric guitar, keys, bass, and drums.  The resounding ballad has some great musical harmonies.  This epic anthem is about that special someone who just lights up your skies.  An impressive guitar solo sounds off toward the end of this track.

“May I Have This Dance” has a sweeping and sweet quality to it.  The romantic vibe is accompanied by melodious harmonies and a catchy feel that make you hunger over tender love as it is filled with the anticipation of a newly acquainted romance.

“In A Flash” starts off with the melancholy cadence of the keys that alone accompanies Epp’s vocals.  The song has a haunting and somber vibe to it, as next the electric guitar, bass, and drums sidles in.  There is a classic rock vibe to this piano-based track.  The sounds from the keys give off an atmospheric and melodious sound.  The song is buoyed by a harmonious piano melody, layers of background vocals, drums, percussions, electric guitar and bass.

Matt Epp welds with a sure-hand a collection of rock songs that trace the Americana, blues, country, and folk conscious.

These are head-turning ballads filled with a kind of warmth without the over-saturation being manufactured in songs churning out in radio music today.

The new album brings to us that definitive place that belies our consciousness.  Far from just hovering over on the peripheral, Shadowlands brings us straight into the fabric of existing with these entrancing ballads that will hook you right in.

Surrender to this melodic release filled with country-bent blues and Americana.  Listeners will be swayed by these enticing ballads that will transcend you to a land of excess.

Be sure you have a listen today!

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My Nguyen

My Nguyen is an album reviewer from San Diego, CA. She regularly contributes to Her work has appeared in the following journals: Quietpoly, Community Voices, Espresso 1, The Whistling Fire, The Pedestal Magazine, The Straylight Magazine, Baby Lawn Literature, and Conceit Magazine.

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