A unique blend of Americana music and rock
Matthew Szlachetka will perform a unique mix of modern Americana and 1970s California rock Saturday at the Butteville Store.
Szlachetka (Sla-het-ka) released his latest album, "Heart of My Hometown," in February. With influences of blues, jazz, finger-style picking and soaring harmonies, the album is a combination of richly textured songs and down-to-earth pieces.
"Music for me is a connecting source," he said. "If you are not connecting and resonating with people, then you are not doing your job as a songwriter. I'm interested in writing a song that somebody can relate to and it helps somebody out. ... The stories behind the songs are really important for me. There is a lot of storytelling that I do in-between the songs."
A single and video from the album, "Wildflowers on the Highway," caught the interest of CMT, a country music TV network.
"It made the top-12 countdown for six weeks straight after the premier, so now I am in their regular rotation. It's pretty cool," Szlachetka said.
The 39-year-old started writing the song after making a long drive from Green Bay, Wisc., to Nashville and noticed that both sides of the highway were engulfed in wildflowers.
"It was this moment where the wind was blowing in this perfect tempo with the beat of the car," he explained. "It was one of those moments when I started spouting off melodies and lyrics into my phone and by the time I got to Nashville I started to write the song."
Szlachetka has been touring every year since 2005; this year's tour started May 2.
He grew up in western Massachusetts and started playing around 8 or 9 with the support of his parents, who were big music fans. He started playing jam sessions that helped to pave the way to relocate to San Diego after graduating from college. He performed in beach bars and clubs then made his way to Los Angeles to start a career as the frontman for a band called Northstar Session. It was after that he hit it hard with tours that lasted from 10 to 12 months a year.
"I do usually between 150 and 200 shows a year across the U.S.," he said, "solo acoustic tours and when the budget allows I will take my full backing band,"
He recently relocated to Nashville, primarily because he was traveling there regularly for writing sessions and work with other artists anyway. It became a hub for him to start tours out of and decided to make the move.
"I started getting a lot of good traction and interest out there and I had a gut feeling that I needed to move there versus staying in (Los Angeles)," Szlachetka said. "I love it. It's been one of the best decisions that I ever made in my life to move there. I bought a house and it's got an amazing music community there."
His concert begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Historic Butteville Store, 10767 Butte St.