Matt Heckler brought his Blood, Water, Coal tour into Oklahoma City this past Friday, gracing the Ponyboy stage along with his current touring partner, Justin Dye. Heckler has been hitting the road this year bringing music from his most recent and aforementioned Anti-Corp Music release, to the people in smaller regional tours. I’d been really excited when this date was announced having first discovered Heckler while he was opening for Lost Dog Street Band and the Tillers way back in 2019. You can read about that show here: https://americanahighways.org/2019/08/17/show-review-lost-dog-street-band-matt-heckler-and-the-tillers/.
During that show, Heckler was mostly performing songs from his debut, After the Flood album, as well as songs from his previous band, Deep Chatham. I was hooked. When it came time for his most current album to drop, I was delighted to have the opportunity to give my thoughts on it as well. Spoiler alert, it’s just magnificent. You can read about it here: https://americanahighways.org/2021/03/03/review-matt-heckler-blood-water-coal-is-appealing-rawness/
So, if you haven’t guessed, I’m a fan, and I was really looking forward to hearing a repertoire that now represents both albums, and the night’s setlist did not disappoint. Not only were early and current favorites represented, but we were also treated to a pair of new songs as well as a rarity ( ‘5150’ ).
The opportunity to have Heckler doing his own tour in very intimate venues and settings, allowed him to really spend some time with his songs, as well as tell the relevant tales behind them. Everything from a ballistic missile crisis in Hawaii to nearly being blown off the Cliff’s of Dover while filming a video for Gems On VHS. Matt’s a master storyteller as well as songwriter and musician, and he’s undoubtedly used that to maximum effect on this tour. What a wonderful night of songs and stories this was, and perhaps the best news I can share is there’s a new album in the works for July or August. I can’t wait.
Matt Heckler is about to to wrap up this short spring mid-west excursion, but will be heading out to the PNW for shows in Portland and Seattle later this month. More dates across the country for the Summer too. Don’t miss a chance to see him if you’re able. Heckler is a special talent, and I hope you get the chance to see him. Be sure to check out his “Magnolia Sessions” release for a sample of what to expect live. You can find the link to it as well as the studio releases by visiting his website here: https://www.mattheckler.com/
Opening the short tour was New Orleans songwriter, Justin Dye who absolutely impressed. Dye has some killer songs in his arsenal and definitely has the pipes to present ’em. Playing songs from his forthcoming Anti-Corp album The Road Goes On, I was more than impressed by the material and equally wowed by presentation. Standouts for me were “The Rain in Houston” and “Some Kinda Hell”. I kept trying to figure out when and where I’d seen Dye before, and it all fell into place when he mentioned he’d also worked merch for Lost Dog Street Band the last couple of years. Much like his contemporaries, Dye’s songs really hit home tackling a lot of “self” issues. Whether that’s addiction, grief or loneliness, Justin’s songs detail the pain with a stark honesty. Maybe it’s not all pretty, but the intention is certainly true. Dye’s album is currently available for pre-order, and I can’t recommend it enough based on what I heard this night. Visit Justin Dye’s website for more information: https://www.justindyemusic.com/