The allure of the highway and the comfort of staying home form the core of singer/songwriter Matthew Szlachetka’s lyrics. With titles like “Ready To Run Again,” “Wildflowers On The Highway,” and “Heart Of My Hometown,”’ Szlachetka (pronounced Sla-het-ka) addresses the internal and eternal conflict all artists face at some point in their career – balancing home life and the road.
Heart Of My Hometown, Szlachetka’s sophomore release, showcases his solid guitar skills, sweet emotive vocals and concise writing. The New England native, who now calls Nashville home, creates muscular, melodic and joyous roots-rock that holds its own in your music playlist, nestled comfortably between Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, Jason Isbell and Bob Seger, never approaching the level of cover band mimicry.
Written by Szlachetka frontman Matthew Szlachetka and Scott Underwood (the original drummer for Train), "Until That Echo" is a soul-searching rocker that recalls Damn the Torpedoes-era Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Filled with crunchy guitars and a pulsing beat, the song sounds like a moonlit drive to somewhere forbidden.
Built around a chromatic guitar riff that spirals downward into darkness, “Until That Echo” is a roots-rocker for late-night drives and haunted hearts. Frontman Matt Szlachetka co-wrote the song with Scott Underwood, Train’s drummer of 20 years, resulting in a track that mixes deep-seated grooves with guitar heroics.
Before relocating to Nashville, singer-songwriter Matthew Szlachetka — stage name Szlachetka — found his muse in the small town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Since then, he’s become a fruitful songwriter whose pen never runs dry. His vivid musical snapshots of life combined with his warm, earnest lyrical delivery is like the second coming of Jackson Browne.
Read the full article.
[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]On Episode 51, we’re joined by singer-songwriter Matthew Szlachetka. He was in the Lubbock area for a handful of days a couple weeks back and joined me one evening at Blue Light for this podcast. He recently released an excellent new album, Heart of My Hometown, which we speak about extensively. He had performed the night before and was just phenomenal (which he’ll be back in Lubbock on May 02 at The Blue Light). In our conversation, we discuss moving out to Los Angeles–where he spent over a decade, his recent move to Nashville, growing up in Massachusetts, writing to capture both his and everyone’s small-town hometown, Tom Petty, and life out on the road.
[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]Listen to the entire interview here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
“Heart of My Hometown” is the title cut from [Matthew] Szlachetka’s sophomore album. Shaped by the constant travels of a touring musician, Heart of My Hometown captures the varied emotions sparked by the open road. It’s a double-edged sword. With “Heart of My Hometown,” Szlachetka delivers a rousing Jackson Browne-esque hometown anthem. He reminds you that even though you’re ready to run from whatever small town you’re from, those old stomping grounds are still a piece of who you are. “Don’t look back, just make them proud,” Szlachetka sings on the driving chorus. It’s a windows down, wind in your hair summer singalong.
Review written by BRAD MILLS
SLA-HET-KA is the correct pronunciation. On Heart of My Hometown, the recent release from Szlachetka, learning to articulate his name will prove much easier than defining the sound of the album. Szlachetka approaches each song with an attention to detail that gives the tracks a Pop shine. The production on Heart of My Hometown keeps a blue-collar beat pulsing as Szlachetka delivers a bar band anthem for its title track, putting a rock’n’roll rhythm underneath as the story rips off its rear-view mirror and heads out on the highway towards the bright light of promise. Katelyn Clampett joins Szlachetka as muted strums and orchestrated strings pick “Wildflowers on the Highway” while a second chance does the math for its mistakes in “Algebra” as Heart of My Hometown channels thunder for the rhythm rumble of “Dark Clouds Over Me” and taps out the time for its heart to start beating again in “Until the Echo”.
Review by Dan MacIntosh
Szlachetka may not have an immediately recognizable country name, but many of his musical influences are instantly familiar. And while the steel guitar is front and center on “Algebra,” he sings “Ready to Run” with a Sprintsteen-esque urgency and an Eddie Vedder quiver in his voice. The latter’s sonic also brings Gin Blossoms to mind.
Whereas “Ready to Run” revs up the rock & roll electric guitars, “A Letter Each Morning” finds Szlachetka singing over nothing more than a finger-picked guitar. It has the early morning feel of a gentle Nick Drake song. “Wildflowers on The Highway” is also acoustic, only it’s a strummed guitar and features female accompaniment and gentle strings.
Review by HENRY CARRIGAN
Our hearts burn with longing, and that longing sometimes tears us apart. We long to travel roads to new places—or familiar places we’ve visited that fuel certain memories—and at the same time we long to settle into the comfort and familiar certainty of home. The distance calls while proximity beckons; once we head out on the road, do we regret it suddenly and want to turn back immediately? What beauty do we miss on the road when we look behind us to the thresholds of our hometowns? Can we carry some of our homes with us wherever we go?