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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

"Thirsty Thursday" Featuring Matthew McCloskey

Thank you so much for talking with us! Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? My mom and dad were playing music in the kitchen all the time. I have my mom to thank for introducing me to Kenny Loggins, Genesis, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. From my dad, I was introduced to the Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, Steely Dan and Joe Jackson.  Being a kid around such awesome music really helped give me a solid foundation for melody and song writing and even just watching my parents enjoy music gave me a deep appreciation for the art form. So thanks mom and dad.

Most memorable meal while touring. Where were you and what did it involve? Before a show in Anniston AL, my good friends took me out to a little Italian place called Effina's.  I easily classify eating their ravioli as a deeply spiritual experience. My mom’s whole family is Italian, so authentic homemade ravioli and spaghetti and such are foods I grew up eating. As such, I'm typically pretty underwhelmed by most restaurant's attempts. I also didn't expect much because it was a little hole in the wall place in a smaller town, so I was really blown away. What’s on your pizza? Do you fold your pizza or eat it straight on? Ranch or no ranch? I have tremendous respect for almost every kind of pizza.  I typically go supreme, meat lovers or Hawaiian. I will also fight anyone who thinks that pineapple on pizza is a bad idea haha.  In terms of how I eat it, I typically go straight on, but I have done the fold-one-piece-over-onto-another-piece strategy, which is great for maximizing my rate of pizza consumption. Ranch is typically not involved, but I will do crushed red peppers.

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be? Mitch Hedberg - he's hilarious, I've been listening to his stand-ups since high school, just love his perspective.Jesus Christ - I'm a Christian for one and who wants to pay for wine at dinner, am I right? Chuck Palahniuk - I really admire Chuck's journalistic approach to how he writes, he has inspired me a bunch in the past year. Very thoughtful guy, very sharp but also very real and endearing. Chris Cornell -  My music may not show it, but I adore almost everything Chris has done. If I could swap voices with anyone ever in history, it would be Chris Cornell. Absolute lion on the microphone and such a moving way with words, rest in peace.

What song that you have recorded means the most to you and why? I think "I Ain't Gonna Be Around Here for Long," is the closest to my heart. It most effectively sums up who I am and what I believe.  There may be different factors that influence the path each of us take, but at the end of the day, we are ultimately in charge of our own lives. If there's something you want to do or somewhere you want to go, it's up to you to make that happen. Especially the line in the middle of the song - I don't want my tombstone to read We don't know his name But we found this guy's remains in front of his TV. That is one of my deepest fears, a life wasted. That fear of having nothing to show for my existence on this planet. I'd say that's the less healthy side of my motivation to continue creating music. On the flip side, it also instills a desire in me to make the world a better place than I found it, so I guess it's not all bad.

If you could have penned a song in any genre what would it have been? I would have loved to have written a song for the first Linkin Park record. The depth of emotional awareness in those songs staggers me - they appear so simple on the surface, yet I'm still picking up new aspects of their complexity to this day. The instrumentation is produced and layered so and so tastefully. Stylistically, the contrast of hard guitars alongside gorgeous melodies is uniquely captivating and unparalleled by anything else I've found. I grew up listening to those records and love them dearly, I would have loved to have been a part of their creation. You recently released your new single, "Driving Away." Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. I had just gone through a rough break up in a few months before I moved down from Minneapolis to Nashville. I was packing up my Uhaul and had the radio on in the background. That old motown song by The Crystals came on

Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married

Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married

Gee, I really love you and we're gonna get married

Going to the chapel of love

I stopped and listened for a minute, thinking of the relationship I had lost. Then I just broke down crying.  Then the sunshine-y optimism that most Motown songs have really started to irritate me, it almost felt like the radio was mocking me. I started writing a song by borrowing the feel from Ryan Adam's song The Rescue Blues. I wanted it to be a sarcastic take on the "Going to the chapel" song I heard on the radio… something that reminds people "Hey, love ain't all sunshine and rainbows."

When/where do you do your best writing? Oddly enough, I do my best writing in the shower. What I will usually do is hum a melody I'm trying to find words for, whether that's for one of my songs or if I'm starting with someone else's song as a lyric template. Something about having something else to occupy my mind lets my subconscious wander freely and suggest ideas to me. I can then curate and select from those ideas instead of putting tons of pressure on myself to come up with things out of thin air. I find that when I'm not putting that pressure on myself, I usually write much better.

Do you have any pre-show rituals? Yep, I have Google Doc on my phone of a transcript from an interview Dave Grohl did for TheOffCameraShow.  Among a slew of F-bombs and other profanities, Dave basically says that his main goal is to just go crazy on his drums, to the point where people in the audience say, "whoa did you see that drummer?"  That then allows him to walk away from every show thinking, "There you go! I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish as a musician." I read that out loud before every show and it really helps me get in the right mindset.

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? I would love to be sponsored by Fig Newtons.  Call me crazy, but I literally cannot have a Box of them in the house because if I do, I am going to eat the whole box in one sitting. I also think it would be hilarious to be sponsored by them, because the only other person I know who likes them is my grandma. Does that make me an old person?

Matthew McCloskey is an indie-pop singer-songwriter based in Nashville, TN. Described as "if Ryan Adams and Ben Folds had a baby," Matthew combines captivating piano instrumentation with heartfelt lyrics about feeling lost, confused or stuck. Raised in the suburbs of Detroit, MI, Matthew developed a deep disdain for the ordinary as well a gnawing hunger for adventure in his early years as a musician. "I kept looking around at the people around me, at the 9-to-5 lives they had chosen… and thinking... Is this as good as it gets?"

After several years as the frontman of acclaimed rock band Aivry, Matthew moved to Nashville, TN to pursue a career as a solo artist. "I quit my job, threw everything in a UHAUL, booked an apartment on Craigslist and moved down." Since then, he has performed with #1 songwriters Craig Morgan and Jimmy Payne and has been featured on several news networks, including WBKO's Midday Show in Bowling Green, KY and Rewind 94.3 in Clarksville, TN. He has also performed to over 30,000 people at Clarksville's Riverfest, an annual music and arts festival in Northern, TN. "It hasn't always been easy, but it's been an awesome ride."

The Road Out of Nowhere is the latest release from Matthew McCloskey. Featuring 6 original songs, the album moves from a contemplative and peaceful stroll alongside a river to hurtling through an emergency room at breakneck speed the next. Recorded in partnership with Peter Fox from Stone House Recordings, the songs feature a unique blend of emotive string and choral arrangements juxtaposed with driving drum patterns and gripping vocals. "This album is a story of despair and redemption; a walk down into the darkest corners of the soul… and the courage it takes to climb out."


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