Matt Check

Song Premiere: Matthew Check “The Way That You Are” feat. Miss Tess

Listen & Watch Song Premieres

Americana Highways is hosting this premiere of Matthew Check’s song “The Way That You Are,” from his forthcoming album Without A Throne. Without A Throne was produced, arranged, mixed and engineered by Thomas Bryan Eaton, and mastered by Tony Terrebonne. The song was written by Jonathan Check.

“The Way That You Are” is Matthew Check on acoustic guitar and lead vocals; Thomas Bryan Eaton on electric and acoustic guitars, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin and vocals; Miss Tess on vocals; John Pahmer on piano; Eric Frey on electric bass; and Glenn Grossman on percussion.

This is one of those love songs that starts strong right out of the gate, stays clear and never falters,  “I never stopped being strong girl / still I long, girl, for you.”  Matthew Check has a palpably confident stride in the way he sings every song, and this one is no exception.  Is it just a matter of time before she returns?  Man, we hope so.

“The Way That You Are” (originally titled “Balconies & Bended Knees”) was first written and recorded by my brother Jonathan Check back in 2006. As part of a grant he received at the time, he recorded the song along with a few others on his debut solo album at Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale, PA (the studio of Rusted Root Founder – Liz Berlin). Out of all my brother’s many amazing compositions over the years, this one in particular always remained by far my favorite and holds a furthermore special place in my heart because of its masterful rendering on David Dye’s WYEP World Cafe Live at The Andy Warhol Theatre on Pittsburgh’s Northside at the album release that year.

Never expecting to record this song for any reason, I found myself toying around with it last fall, when I was assembling material for what would become Without a Throne.

Once I got down to Nashville and began to workshop the melody with Thomas Bryan Eaton (the album’s producer) and Miss Tess (the track’s featured vocalist), I was amazed by the new personality that the song took on. While it was already soulful, we added a three-part harmony that brought out an unexpectedly heartfelt texture. We also tweaked a drumbeat (rendered by Glenn Grossman) during the pre-chorus that gave the song an almost Motown-Esque vibe which I really liked. My favorite part of this recording is the piano playing. In the original version, my brother rips a rockin’ electric guitar solo which stands in striking contrast to the stripped-down melody that John Pahmer (the pianist on the session) teases out in this rendition. I can’t forget to mention the bass playing on this session as well (Eric Frey). With a couple of tweaks, he delivered a bass line that really made the song.

I just love the way that this version came out. It was truly a group effort of all the musicians in the room. — Matthew Check

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