Mathew "Mat" Kearney was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, but began playing music while attending university in Chico, California. Using a roommate's guitar, he tried covering songs by other artists, but realized he was not very good at it and began writing his own compositions. Kearney performed at local coffee houses, fusing his simple guitar playing with spoken word or rap. He then accompanied a friend's move to Nashville, Tennessee, not foreseeing that he also would relocate there and launch a professional music career. Kearney's fifth album, Just Kids, was released on February 24, 2015.
At the Best Buy Theater tonight, Kearney used a variety of sounds to highlight his insightful, poetic lyrics. On many songs, he played acoustic guitar for a sensitive singer-songwriter approach. On other songs, he put down his guitar so that he and his soft-rocking band could propel a more dynamic force. Often his vocal delivery was talky, on many occasions even straight-out hip hop. His rather unique style as a soft-rocking folkie rapper clicked well, maintaining a mellow mood with a bright pop sound. His set introduced six new songs and a dozen older songs. A little past the halfway point of the 90-minute set, Kearney invited opening act Judah & the Lion to join in a banjo and mandolin-infused bluegrass and hip hop take on Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars’ "Uptown Funk." This was followed by a clever interlinking medley of Kearney's "Runaway" with U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name." Overall, Kearney proved himself to be a credible performer with a pleasant collection of tunes.
Visit Mat Kearney at www.matkearney.com.