Black Tea Nights
'Black Tea Nights' is a true neo-folk effort, capturing the bittersweet mood of British and American singer-songwriters of the early 70's. Matthew Hope keeps the music up to date with the inclusion of guitar drones and the ambient textures of keyboards and organic strings. The title track is immediately distinctive, it's haunting vocals and catchy chorus being the obvious choice for a first single. Another highlight, "When I'm Gone", seems a classic Americana ballad, enhanced by pedal steel. "The Woman I Love is Crazy" is a bouncy folk-rock ditty full of twanging guitars, recalling the Byrds at their most light hearted. Hope's unflinching embrace of the pop hook keep repeated listens of "Black Tea Nights" fresh and memorable. A worthy addition to any collection of contemporary folk music. Born and raised in the outskirts of Chicago, Matthew Hope absorbed many different musical traditions at a very young age. Music was central to his existence in a world full of sound but without sight. His exceptional sensitivity to the sonic world has given him a unique perception of the nuances of everyday experiences, which show up in his music as seemingly-familiar vividness. His music is the fusion of alternative sounds with the familiarity of nostalgic folk traditions. His breathy vocals and intricate acoustic guitar work recall a more hopeful Nick Drake or Elliott Smith. With one foot in the dark brooding sounds of the Minneapolis underground and the other obsessed with writing idealistically about life and love, Matthew has created a nostalgic sound that is not easily forgotten. Time and time again fans say that his voice draws them in. As he shifts from dark to light, from bitter to jubilant, from weary to enthusiastic, he seems to effortlessly keep his fans in anticipatory, bittersweet enchantment. Backed by a full band for the first time, Matthew's lush arrangements blossomed in the studio and brought the nuances of his acoustic writing into a more marked, distinct forum; Matthew's coffee-shop fans will certainly find great pleasure as his acoustic songs come to life on "Black Tea Nights". Matthew is now based in Minneapolis where he has recently completed his first full-length album at Third Ear Studios.