Matt Mays has had a pretty great and storied musical career. Mays started out with The Guthries, a Canadian country rock group, before embarking on an excellent solo career that slowly shifted from those country rock roots to more straight up rock n’ roll. Mays been honing his sound has established his sound by avoid the typical pitfalls of poppier elements, opting push forward with that old school rock sound.
After 2012’s Coyote, which won Rock Album of the Year at the Juno Awards, Mays took some time off before releasing One Upon a Hell of a Time late last year. While the album deals with trouble and loss on its 13 tracks, Mays maintains a strong rock backbone throughout. MAys has described the rcord as “party-rock record for the brokenhearted”. The whole album sounds fun in its distress, something that can be hard to juggle as well as Mays has.
Mays’ upcoming release will add another element to that album. Twice Upon a Hell of a Time, out on October 19th, will act as a companion piece to Once Upon a Hell of a Time. Mays has taken his previous record and completely re-contextualized it. The songs shed their fast paced, almost party like vibe, for something much more stripped down and subtle. Acoustic instruments fill the lush arrangements, calling for a calmer sound that is clearly evident in the recently reworked single “Ola Volo”.
The transformation from the original‘s darkly moody verses and sharp chorus to an ethereal realm is revelatory. The lyrics are sent to the foreground, exposing a different side of their beauty. Instead of a rocking anthem recklessly rushing to be saved by Ola Volo (who just happens to be the artist of the album cover), this version finds itself more in line with a folktale, a calm and tempered search for salvation. Its gentle ukuleles and Mays more serene vocal delivery evoke Volo’s amazing folklore inspired artwork in a way that makes the song feel more complex than before.
Matt Mays and his band will be making a stop at Schubas on September 11th in support of both Once and Twice. You’ll be able to hear taste of everything they have to offer, from his fun rollicking jams to his more heartfelt acoustic tracks. He will be joined by The Brooks Hubbard Band and their more country tinged sound, making for interesting and welcoming lineup. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, for this amazing show.