Chattanooga Now Mat Kearney brings hip-hop influenced folk to Track 29

Chattanooga Now Mat Kearney brings hip-hop influenced folk to Track 29

January 20th, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music


What: Mat Kearney featuring Robert Francis.

When: 8 p.m. Monday.

Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.

Admission: $15 in advance, $17 at the door. (ages 18-20 charged additional $3 minor fee at the door).

Phone: 521-2929.

Venue website:

Many relationships take years to evolve from the initial moments of intense, nervous infatuation into a comfortable, romantic groove.

In his recently released third studio album, "Young Love," Nashville-based singer/songwriter Mat Kearney compresses that same transition into about 45 minutes.

From the "catch me if you can" playfulness of "She Got the Honey" to the white-knuckled anticipation of a could-be father in "Seventeen," the songs on "Young Love" have a wide emotional range, mixing upbeat, catchy anthems with more emotionally weighty songs.

Kearney said that combination has helped add variety to his live shows since he began touring in support of the album last September. He will appear Monday at Track 29 just after the start of a second touring leg.

"It's a dance you're doing onstage, at least the way I love to do it," Kearney explained in a phone interview. "We're not just getting up there and rocking people's faces off. We're taking people on a journey through different sorts of emotions."

A native of Eugene, Ore., Kearney has been living in Nashville for more than a decade, singing songs combining a storytelling lyrical approach with pop- and hip-hop-influenced trappings.

When he arrived in Music City with his friend and longtime producer Robert Marvin, Kearney said the plan was to set up Marvin's studio, record some material and then return to the Northwest.

That plan got ruined in the best possible way.

"By the end of the summer, we'd recorded a few songs, and I'd found this community I loved," Kearney said. "I was like, 'I'm done.' I called home and ... and dropped out of school.

"The rest is history. I'm still on a 12-year road trip, I guess."

The city not only gave him a place to put down musical roots, Kearney also met his wife, Annie, whom he married in 2010. The experience of watching their relationship develop and deepen provided much of the inspiration for the tracks on "Young Love," Kearney said.

"I think it's just where I was at in my head," he said. "Falling in love and getting married helps with 'The world is going to be OK' mindset.

"It's easy to look back at your past and make sense of the shape you are today. That's the other side of 'Young Love,' looking back at this person you were."