Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad played the drums, professionally, before I was born. He met my mom in the Catskills when he was working a job with a big band in the 1940’s. She looked over at the chart he was reading and asked, “You call that music?”
Recently I had a revelation about this art form that I have come to know and love over the journey of my life. What I discovered is that I have allowed my prejudices to restrict my ability to receive the true purpose of music more fully.
Even though I can easily enjoy listening to just about anything from amateur singer/songwriters to the finest symphonies that a city has to offer, I was still locked into a preconceived notion of what good music is supposed to sound like. This hard-hearted attitude had kept me from really learning what music is all about.
My Friend Matt
I met Matt Samolis when I was a freshman at SUNY Oneonta. He was visiting his sister for the weekend and we instantly hit it off. He played and sang with a unique style and had a humble attitude that revealed a great confidence and natural talent.
Two of the songs that he had written became mainstays in my early repertoire. In fact, the very first studio recording I ever made was of his tune “Life’s a Bitch”. When I dropped out of college I spent a few weeks crashing on his couch, playing and singing daily as I fumbled through a few short-lived local job opportunities.
Other than finding me work as a house painter, Matt also showed me how to take sound recording seriously and what the life of a dedicated musician was all about.
After I returned to my hometown, we kept in touch over the years. My friend’s interest in music navigated toward atonal and free improvisation, while I headed down the path of traditional song forms and popular music composition.
We really could not be farther apart in our choices of how to express ourselves with emotional sound.
Matt became deeply involved in a community around the music he writes and plays. Now he is experiencing success that demonstrates how important it is to make art that connects with people and actually connects people with each other.
I invite you to listen to his contribution to the world of contemporary classical music and enjoy what helped to set me free from the confines of an artistic rut.
Listening to the sound of Matt and his collaborators opened a mental door that I shut and stood in front of, not allowing the light of pure inspiration to penetrate for decades.
Perhaps you too will be instantly freed up to re-imagine whatever creative road you are on. Maybe you will just continue to do the same thing over and over again until you collapse from exhaustion. However, there is also a chance that a seed of new appreciation will have been planted. Perhaps that seed will sprout and grow later on, the possibilities are endless.
I’d like to hear what you think of Matt’s work, please let me know.