Matt Chieffo is the lead singer, songwriter, guitar/percussion/banjo/banjolin/etc, etc, etc for the haunting folk group “Man Alive!”. His songs tell stories about life, about death, and always seem to be able to blend a truly spooky vibe with sounds that make you want to dance and stomp your feet. I am not sure how he does it, but it never ceases to amaze me. He is one of those writers that manages to incorporate great stories, poignant lyrics, but always get a great hook in there (“the first time I got high was with YOU Andy”…consistently runs through my head). His vocal is one of the most unique out there and is the strong thread in the sonic feel to the band’s sound.
I was lucky enough to be able to make music with Matt in the band on mandolin and electric guitar for about a year and during that time I learned a whole hell of a lot. His writing rubbed off on me, his playing and songwriting style influenced me in a way that I am forever grateful for. Even after I left the group I always kept tabs on what they were doing, what new songs were coming out. Matt’s songs are ones that simply, continuously stick with me.
I asked Matt to be a part of this project because he brings something very special in his writing. I also knew that he has tapped into an entirely different community with his music than the typical Cambridge folk scene. That being the case, he would choose an artist to cover that a lot of the folks I typically play with may not know and the web that I originally hoped to spin as a result of this project would extend even further.
(photo by DayKamp Music)
He really paid great tribute to a band he respects with his take on The Fantastic Liars’ “Nobody Telephone”. I think his guitar style, his voice, everything really worked so well here and it is one of the tracks I keep going back to. And in homage to our old bandmate status, he even asked me to sit in on mandolin. So lucky me! The track also features engineer Andrew Kramer on the upright bass and we cut it live in studio facing each other in a sort of semi circle, no headphones or anything. Very organic, very awesome feel…even when I had to run out the door to a gig at Toad before we were able to rough mix it.