With his down-to-earth delivery and deeply personal lyrics, local singer songwriter Matthew Golay creates music that firmly plants your feet on the ground while pushing your head into the clouds. The 28-year-old Oshkosh resident's latest album, Alone, is a solid effort that showcases his ability with both lyrics and guitar. From beginning to end, Alone is enjoyable and engaging.
Originally planning to release the CD with a full band, Golay came to realize that the songs held their own and, as Bruce Springsteen did with Nebraska, decided to record it solo and acoustically, hence the title.
He cites Dave Matthews and Neil Diamond as his favorite songwriters, and this balance of new and old is reflected in Golay's own singing. The vocals on Alone's 11 songs are both assured and vulnerable, radiating a style that maintains strong melodies that are smoothly pleasing, with enough edge to bite in and make the words take hold. Golay's versatile acoustic guitar playing works in combination with the vocals to create an overall fluidity that can be enjoyed for its effect without deeply analyzing the lyrical content.
Characterizing his music as folk/pop/rock, Golay says it's "Folk because it's acoustic. Pop because it's radio-friendly. Rock because it's all rock and roll if you put it into perspective."
Many of Golay's compositions draw inspiration from relationships. The beautiful song "Take My Hand," which Golay says "is about the greatest love you could ever imagine" uses gently ascending and descending chords that will give the listener goose bumps. The passionately played "Not Too Far" focuses on love's all-too-frequent ability to put a person in an unresolvable heart-wrenching situation. "The Deep End" has smart cadences, a lively chorus and overdubbed vocals that wrap themselves around catchy guitar riffs to make it the album's best song.
A frequent performer in the Fox Valley, Golay feels that the scene in the area is amazing. "There is live music everywhere ... and plenty of excellent musicians." He hopes someone will come along and start scooping up the local talent for wider exposure, to "show the rest of the world what the Fox Valley has to offer in original music."
Golay hopes his music has as much of a positive impact on others' lives as it has had on his own. Lucky for us he does not see an end to his artistic dedication: "Music is my life ... and then I will still be whistling in my grave."
Although Alone's tight production gives you a front-row seat to the music, it also whets the appetite for one of Golay's live performances, so catch him at a local club when you can.
The Valley Scene - August 2002
By Michael Hopkins