Monday, May 09, 2011


It's time for another edition of "What's Your Muse?"

The concept is simple: We ask a band/artist to choose a song that means a lot/the most to them. Then, they record and send us a video of themselves describing why they chose the song. Think of it like a collaborative video mixtape project.

In this edition, we hear from Matt Bauer.

One look at Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Matt Bauer, and you might think he’s a member of a metal band with his shaved head and big beard. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Bauer creates some of the most vulnerable folk you’re bound to hear. There’s bravery in his decision to be so open and honest on record, baring his soul and hiding nothing in his gentle croon – one that often ends lines in a quiver.

On his forthcoming album, The Jessamine County Book of the Living, Bauer sounds increasingly stately backed by his trusted banjo and a string quartet. The lush, striking string arrangements featured throughout the album give rise to a near bone-chilling mood that’s hard to turn away from. Simply put, Bauer produces moments of haunting beauty that may be melancholic at heart, but wind up being rather inspiring thanks to the music's great sincerity, sense of assurance, and comforting humility.

For his submission, Bauer chose a song that began its life as an a cappella composition. It comes from an album of field recordings that he used as a way to teach himself the banjo. Lucky for us, Bauer shares his version of the song in a live performance that highlights the simple yet awe-inspiring beauty of his quiet power. In its sparse arrangement is the detail and poetry of raw human emotion that most people hold deep down, locked away inside their hearts.

Bauer mentions learning the song from Martha Hall's version. You can hear a snippet of Hall's take here.

Matt Bauer's new album, The Jessamine County Book of the Living, is out June 7th on Crossbill Records.

Matt Bauer
Official Site/Tumblr

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