Thursday, March 5, 2009

Matt Alber: the End Of The World

This song presents one of those blog opportunities where I can share a new talent with you that I think is truly sensational and throw in a little cultural insight as well.

Matt Alber is an artist so new to the scene that he doesn't even have a wiki page yet. He says he's been in choirs all his life and is clearly musically trained. He lives in San Francisco, where his most recent choral gig was with Chanticleer, a top-notch and nationally known male chamber group. A friend on Facebook brought him to my attention.

I characterize Matt as "Rufus Wainwright with a vocal coach." He writes his own music, as does Rufus, but he's clearly a more laid-back performer, less flamboyant. A first album is often the easiest one of an entire career because an artist has literally his entire life to write the material for it. By the same token, the second is the most important and often the most difficult because it shows whether or not that career has legs. Writing memorable music as a pastime and landing a recording gig is one thing; writing the same quality of music on deadline and while managing a life on the road is quite another. Matt's style is dangerously close to the saccharine banality of Josh Groban (an utterly wasted voice, in my opinion--sorry, fans) but nothing on this first CD, Hide Nothing, slips into that territory. May he keep to that standard.

And now to the cultural insight, to raise this above pure self-indulgence on my part: There's no queston from this video that Matt Alber is gay. Call the entire performance manipulative, schmaltzy, clich├ęd--it is. But the video brings tears to my eyes and to those of my gay friends because it's been made! You don't know you've missed something until you see it unexpectedly there in front of you, and then you say, "Wow!" Suddenly you're affirmed, your life has such validation that it can be demonstrated even in this corny way. It's overpowering. Wainwright is affirming, too, by the sheer force of his talent and his personality. But he's infected with the irony of our jaded age, as well, so he's a bit stand-offish. Matt Alber offers nothing more than himself, his songs, and his beautiful voice. I fervently hope he can keep that quality.


Anonymous said...

Oh how beautiful. I love his voice and the video brought tears to my eyes. I can't wait to show it to my daughter and her partner when they're here for a visit this weekend. I have to get this CD!!

Thanks for sharing this.

Linda in Chapel Hill

Ralph said...

Linda, that makes me so happy! Thanks, and my best to your daughter.

Eclecticity said...

Gorgeous song! Has a Billy Joel quality to him, he does to me.

I appreciate it's "validation" quality for you too Ralph. Lovely. E.

Cuidado said...

He is Rufus-like. I loved this very much and will check him out further. Oops, no Wiki page, you say. Wish me luck.

Ralph said...

Cuidado, he has a website. It's linked with the album name in the text. The album is also available at Amazon and Itunes.

Nan said...

Oh, very nice! He does sound like a trained Rufus, but of course I do like the untrained. Great video. Very romantic! What a wonderful find, Ralph.

Ralph said...

I find I like them both, Nan. This guy's still got some proving to do, but if he lives up to this debut he'll go places, for sure.