Matt Dorrien's KEXP Session Is Live Now

Matt Dorrien's KEXP Session Is Live Now

Matt Dorrien, who released his modern classics album In The Key of Grey earlier this year on Portland's Mama Bird Recording Co., went up to Seattle to record a stunning live session at the venerable KEXP studios where he performed "Baby I'm So Lost", "Underwear Blues", "All I Wanted To Say" and "United States Of Nothing". You can now find the entire session right HERE. Matt Dorrien's In the Key of Grey. Here you can find the private album stream and download. Dorrien will be playing a couple shows with labelmate Haley Heynderickx including a songwriters round with a handful of fellow Mama Bird Recording Co. artists on September 27th at Revolution Hall in Portland and in Seattle at Ballard Homestead September 29th.

The essential elements to Matt Dorrien's rollicking, Tin Pan Alley-inspired new record are as follows: piano, Nilsson, whiskey, heartbreak, a little more whiskey, Randy Newman, old phonographs, and New Orleans brass bands. A big, swinging pean to loneliness and the golden age of pop songwriting, In the Key of Grey is the sound of East Village piano bars long past closing, when the house musician has had a few too many, and the regulars are gathering 'round to drown out their sorrows in song.

When speaking about "Baby I'm So Lost" Dorrien opened up saying "a lot of the songs on this record were written after a pretty difficult breakup. This was one of the first of the group that I wrote. I sat down with the intention to write something that felt like an old melancholy ragtime tune, in the vein of Scott Joplin's Solace. I was also listening a lot to Randy Newman at the time (still am). My introduction to Randy Newman, besides Toy Story, was with his and Harry Nilsson's record Nilsson Sings Newman, and I was absolutely blown away by the songs. After that I completely dove into his early records. After listening to his albums Sail Away and Good Ol' Boys, I couldn't get enough of songs like "Dayton Ohio, 1903", and "Marie". He had a huge impact on my writing when I was composing songs for this record, especially on this one. That being said, this wasn't purely an experiment in emulating a particular style of writing - I was definitely going through a rough period emotionally, and the lyrics and music are a reflection of that."

Loneliness is hardly a new topic for Dorrien; it's been present in his songwriting since his first record under the guise of Snowblind Traveler. "A common theme in my writing has always been loss and displacement, and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that my parents moved us around most of our childhood," Dorrien says. "For better or worse, this sense of displacement has informed my idea of home, and has left me hopping from city to city in search of God knows what." But rather than take the predictable route and filter that sadness into a stack of slow-moving ballads, Dorrien instead drew inspiration from songwriters like Carole King, John Lennon during his New York era, and Harry Nilsson's acclaimed 1970 album Nilsson Sings Newman.

"I guess I would say this album is a homage to a bygone era of songwriting," Dorrien says. "A lot of the songs are about a certain period in my life, with themes of love and loss abounding. But at its core, I believe I wrote this record as a tribute to my favorite songwriters." With In the Key of Grey, Dorrien isn't just paying respect to his heroes-he's making a convincing bid to join their ranks.

Matt Dorrien's In the Key of Grey Track List?

1. Baby I'm so Lost

?2. Underwear Blues

?3. I Can't Remember

?4. Pretty Little Thing

?5. All I Wanted To Say?

6. Maybe This Time?

7. Dayton, Ohio - 1983

?8. Mister Pour Another?

9. The Discontented Rag?

10. Within' These Blues Skies Were Grey

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