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ROBERT MATTER: Press

At coffeehouses throughout our region and at different outdoor stages, we can hear a variety of singer songwriters, usually with acoustic guitars. Often we hear a mix of cover tunes and original compositions. What Hampton Virginia's Robert Matter has selected here are cover tunes of songs from the 60's and 70's, all with an even flow of what you might expect in a coffeehouse from a solid performer.

There is a lot of familiar material and some less familiar but worthwhile work included here, including the title tune, "Songman" from the Jim Croce associated duo of Cashman & West. When originally released in late 1972, it peaked at number 59 in Billboard's Top 100. It works very well here dealing with the topic of singer-songwriters and it bookends some of the more familiar selections by starting off the eleven track CD and working as a reprise at the end.

Robert's version of "The Letter" uses the rhythm introduced in the Joe Cocker version versus the Box Tops original. His version of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" captures both the acoustic Dylan sound and the electrified Jimi Hendrix interpretation through the use of acoustic guitar up front and a lead electric guitar in the background, making for a very exciting recording engineered by Kim Person. The acoustic guitar ringing in Harry Chapin's "Circle" recalls the effect he achieved on the instrument on songs like "Everybody's Lonely". This is the only song on the collection never released as a single. Robert also captures a similar quiver in his voice in "Please Come To Boston" as Dave Loggins did on the original recording.

Other songs include Bob Dylan's (and The Byrds') Mr Tambourine Man, Jerry Jeff Walker's (and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's) "Mr Bojangles", Kris Kristofferson's "Loving Her Was Easier Then Anything I'll Ever Do Again", The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek" and Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer".

If you are looking for a CD with mainly familiar songs to capture the calm mood of a coffeehouse, Songman is for you.
Warren Kurtz - New City Magazine Roanoke Virginia October 2000
“Robert Matter sings and plays folk music in a style that’s unapologetically gentle. His music hearkens back to the folk boom of the 1960’s. But Matter also will remind listeners of singer songwriters such as John Denver and Al Stewart. Matter’s songs can repair frazzled nerves.”
Sam McDonald - Pop Music Reporter - The Daily Press Newport News Virginia
“Robert Matter is one of the new generation of singer-songwriters in the tradition of John Prine, Dave Mallet and Harry Chapin. Robert’s stage presence actively engages listeners to “tune in” to the performance and thoroughly enjoy the person, place or thing the song is about. His wonderful CD “Songman” has been a favorite of mine and has helped define my radio show as a creative outlet for talented performers. I feature him whenever I can and always enjoy his live on-air performances on my show. Robert Matter is among the talent that has defined Southeastern Virginia as a leading cultural arts region.”
Barry Graham - Host of "Off The Shelf" - WHRV-FM Public Radio Norfolk Virginia
“Robert Matter’s contemporary folk style music captivates the audience and draws spectators to the stage from other areas of the festival. His rich vocals and enthusiastic delivery make him one of the “must see” acts of the weekend.”
Elena Berry Former Director, Stockley Gardens Arts Festival - Hope House Foundation Norfolk Virginia
“Robert Matter’s “Songman” CD is a pleasant saunter down the unpaved memory lanes of 60s and 70s coffeehouse folk music…Robert singing the gentler selections of the era with a strong voice and his own delicate phrasing.”
Peter Berryman - Lou and Peter Berryman