Matt Wheeler On the Hill Session at Kettle Pot Tracks
Matt is a hardworking musician that writes good songs…what else can we say! We had him in WAYYYYYY back in February: think cool thoughts on this summer day as you listen to Mr. Wheeler spin…
So… When/why/how/where did you get started? That is to say, can you give us a comfortably-abridged bio?
I really wasn’t very musical growing up in Indiana – though I did play oboe when I was young – but I’ve enjoyed music & writing as long as I can remember. At college in Virginia, I started writing poetry & also picked up playing bass, then – after being inspired by a Phil Keaggy concert & some busking girls playing “Wonderwall” outside of the laundromat – I bought a cheap pawn shop guitar & learned to play from guitar tabs of songs that I liked. Writing original songs was a natural outgrowth from the poetry & guitar playing. I got started playing music publicly by helping with my friend’s youth group, & started playing original music after I moved up to Pennsylvania in 2007. The real tipping point for what I do now is when I opened a show in Lancaster for Denison Witmer, one of my favorite songwriters. That was when I started putting a real orchestral strings emphasis on my band arrangements, & when I got a real taste for performing my original songs for people. Now, telling stories through song is one of the things that most makes me feel alive.
Why did you choose these songs for On the Hill?
Since this is a solo session, I picked selections that suited for playing without the support of my band. “#8” is a delicate lullaby dedicated to my young son, Luke – I actually sing it to him when I am getting him down for a nap. Lyrically, it is about the carefree summers of my youth – riding my bike with my brother & friends, catching fireflies, enjoying the late sunset – & wishing those same things for my son. “Cedars” is one of my newest songs, & is the fictional story of friends on an epic hike on the Appalachian Trail. “Indigo” is based on Homer’s Odyssey & is something across between a sea shanty & a cowboy campfire ballad. I wrote “Avalanche” about my wife & me starting off our new life as a married couple – a time that was filled with excitement & perhaps a bit of anxiety. Our wedding anniversary date actually makes an appearance in the first verse of the song, & it’s a song that has gotten some airplay on WXPN. “Lexington” is a piece of historical fiction in which the protagonist is a young man during the time of the Revolutionary War who feels torn between being with the woman he loves & serving the cause of his nascent country. It’s also the song that is likely the be the title track for the next Matt Wheeler & Vintage Heart album.
What else is going on in your world? What’s next?
As a husband & the father of a 5-year-old boy with special needs, & with a full-time job beside my serious part-time job as a performing songwriter, I regularly have a pretty full plate. Bandwise, I’ve got a multitude of shows this summer, including a short tour up to New York City & New Jersey, & a trip in October out to Chicago for the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference, as well as a show or two. We have most of the songs for a new full-length album (or 2 EP’s) done – the band & I will be meeting to practice & I’ll be planning the recording process & release. I am hoping that we will have the album out by the end of the 2015.
Where can we see and hear more of you?
I play throughout the region & into the Northeast, with my band & solo, & you can check out my website at www.mattwheeleronline.com & click the “Shows” tab to see where we are playing. You can find our music on iTunes, Spotify, & various digital outlets, as well as on our website. And, of course, we are on the major social media sites (just look for Matt Wheeler & Vintage Heart or @mattwheelervh). And anyone interested in booking us, particularly for house concerts – one of our favorite types of performances– can message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Matt’s On the HIll Session at Kettle Pot Tracks