Thursday, September 16, 2004
It was Matt Sever’s day job that helped the singer/songwriter meet a handful of Austin’s most popular local musicians. One of the people that the aspiring songwriter met during his stint as a journeyman electrician was Bruce Hughes, a former member of Cracker and Poi Dog Pondering, who is now producing Sever’s music.
The former Pacific Grove resident, who goes by the stage name Matt the Electrician, is now too busy to do electrical work. “I haven’t worked the day job for almost two years,” Sever says.
When Sever first moved to Austin about eight years ago, he played open mics and coffee shops. Now, he is playing venues like The Cactus Café, where Lyle Lovett got his start.
His debut CD, 1998’s Baseball Song, was reviewed favorably in publications like No Depression, The Austin Chronicle and Performing Songwriter. His last release, 2003’s Made For Working, proves Sever can be equally at ease writing a whimsical tune about how love is better on earth than the moon (“Love on the Moon”) and a straightforward song about being a working man (“These Boots”).
Throughout the album, the listener does not know what to expect. “These Boots” begins and ends with a sly reference to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” while “Little Hands” features Sever playing a banjolele, a cross between a banjo and a ukulele, and a tap dancing solo courtesy of his brother, Gareth Sever. And then there’s the acoustic version of the Rick Springfield ‘80s classic, “Jessie’s Girl.”
“When I was a kid, I was a big Rick Springfield fan,” Sever admits. “My take on it was, I’m kind of kidding; I’m kinda not.”
On Oct. 2, Sever will officially release his latest album, Long Way Home. The new release replaces the whimsy of his last release with more plaintive-sounding alternative country and rock. Songs like “Sad Lisa Waltz” and “You and I” are mature reflections about life on the road (the former) and life as a father (the latter).
Sever has come a long way since high school in Pacific Grove, when he played in Slow Children At Play, a garage band that played a few Creedence songs.