Who killed Matt Maeson? Maybe the devil, who haunted his parents, two reformed teenage outlaws who played in religious heavy metal bands and wouldn’t let him listen to rock on the radio. Or maybe it was the volatile spirit that brought Matt to prison the first three hundred times. He played shows with his mom and dad, proprietors of a prison ministry since he was young. The family lived on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and worked wherever the faithful wouldn’t feel like they belonged. They drove south to Florida and west to Montana, rumbling through maximum-security lockups with fire and benediction, drums and guitars. Matt spent his adolescence in and out of trouble, on the road to prisons and biker rallies: he played songs about salvation in front of naked women and Hell’s Angels at Sturgis, one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the world.
Matt Maeson sings like the dead singer-songwriters, full of troubled and tensile grace. His sound is spare and rich and restless. Vines of guitar weave around his voice; half-remembered melodies drift overhead like ghosts. The phone started ringing as soon as he posted his first songs online at the nexus of 2015 and 2016, and things haven't let up since. “Cringe,” his debut single, feels like canon, as profound and arresting as Jeff Buckley or King Krule; it’s got the stark, urgent intimacy of a spotlight trained on a pair of sinners in the dark. As with all of Matt’s music, “Cringe” asks the same questions his life has, about desperation and redemption and love. It’ll appear on the Who Killed Matt Maeson EP, out on Neon Gold/Atlantic in early 2017.