“Less is more” – Sometimes this is true for certain musicians, and this is certainly the case for Matthew Colin, a solo acoustic musician whom I had the pleasure of seeing at the Junk Bar, Ashgrove. These days, especially in the current artistic climate, I have become weary of the “one man band”, so to speak. Only one other solo act has really stirred anything within me and that is George Higgins (another talented Brisbane musician). Some of these lone musicians fall into one end of the spectrum: socio-political narratives against the backdrop of a harmonica and acoustic guitar, or, the other end of the spectrum: breathy, folkish, hippie, lovelorn, waif-like indie kids (male and female) spewing the kind of passive-aggressive diatribe about heartbreak that bores me to no end. I can’t take it. It does nothing for me. Then you have someone like Matthew Colin – a tall, long haired, bearded, spectacled man who likes to talk to you. Not AT you, but TO you. I dig his candour very much. He is a well travelled guy who writes songs predominantly about his journeys, the people he has met along the way, how he lives, and to me there is nothing better than the simplicity in which he doles out these stories – there are no complicated metaphors, vocal aerobics or intricate guitar techniques. I think this is how true storytelling is done.
He does not have an air of pretentiousness, rather, he projects confidence because he has lived the things he writes and sings about, as opposed to some songwriters who are very hard to believe or relate to. In between songs he speaks to us about the meaning behind each song, the way in which it all came about and offers up humour which I think comes naturally to him. He does not need to try. There are songs about living in a van, a friend who pisses himself before jumping into a river and maybe even falling in love in a foreign place. Listening to Matthew play, I almost felt transported to the places which he has been. That’s not an easy feat. Even the older couple watching him clasped at each other’s hands and swayed and watched. It was cool to see. My favourite song is called The Vulture, and if I remember correctly it is a song he wrote about having disagreements with a close friend, but what a beautiful and honest way to capture that than in a song which made me feel like I was given a birds eye view of the human condition. It is real, rustic, hearty stuff. Check out his music here: http://matthewcolinsworldwar.bandcamp.com/