Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Veteran Charlotte-based songwriter revisits 1987 album

Veteran singer-songwriter Matthew Alexander celebrates the release of the newly remastered version of his 1987 debut album, “Wishing I Had Wings,” at The Atherton Mill Market (2014 South Blvd.) Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alexander began his career in Boston during the folk boom of the late `60s. Today he’s based in Charlotte where he recorded “Wishing I Had Wings” almost 25 years ago. It features well known Charlotte musicians like the Spongetones’ Jamie Hoover and Debby Dobbins who are still active today.

“Wishing I Had Wings” is more than a snapshot of folk and country music during the late `80s (although it captures it well). It showcases Alexander’s nimble finger picking for one. The opening track is fit for a bluegrass audience, while “Counting the Hours” is one of those classic country weepers you can imagine Conway Twitty singing. “The World Just Keeps Spinning Round” could be interpreted as a contemporary Christian tune, in part due to the style and production that straddles the line between pop and country. “Crying” on the other hand sounds like a Chris Isaak style pop-rock hit. “Tulsa Tomorrow” treads darker, bluesy waters that match its storytelling format. “California Roads” features near gospel-style harmonies, which remind me of both the Mamas and the Papas and a church choir.

In fact “Wishing I Had Wings” covers a lot of ground drifting in and out of and mixing John Denver-style folk with more fully arranged pop and country amid clean, pristine production. It reminds me of some of the songs Larry Groce sang on “Mountain Stage” when I was growing up - folk-based at its heart but the full backing band and production directs it toward commercial country territory. Of course you can't get more country than lyrics like those on "Sentenced To Life."

You can find out more about Matthew Alexander at

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