This year's show will also be different, because it will feature many more of Matt's original songs. Three years ago he quit his longtime full-time work as a teacher and, for the first time in his long career, started writing songs. But these songs are not the work of a novice. They show the sure hand of someone who's been working with language for a long time he taught high school English for twelve years and one who's learned much from his conversations with some of the finest songwriters on the planet. Matt's songs range from the inspiring country-gospel-flavored "How Will I Leave" to a hot-off-the-press Woody Guthrie-type ballad about a Katrina family.
The Ark gig is special for Matt, but not because it's rare for him to play live concerts: he's been singing before audiences for more than twenty-five years. It's because, like so many people, he considers the Ark to be the finest folk music venue in the country: "When you play the Ark, you want to bring something good!" Every year, Matt does.
[Review published November 2005]