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Southern charm

Closer Than You Realize
Closer Than You Realize
By Matt Commerce

Self-realized: 2008

This review first appeared in the January 8, 2009 issue of the North County Times.

San Diego singer-songwriter Matt Commerce brings a Southern sensibility and comforting charm to his folk rock. Hearkening back to mid-'70s Little Feat or The Band, his five-song EP's most marked characteristic is its utterly relaxed atmosphere. Like the two bands offered as comparisons, he builds his songs on a solid foundation of mainstream rock with broad streaks of country and R&B running through the music.

"Back in the Game" is a slowly percolating Southern boogie about a buddy of his just coming out of a longterm relationship (and Jeff McCullough's acoustic piano anchors the song with some nice New Orleans flavoring). On the second track, he ventures to the Caribbean with the reggae-pop "Only With You," before moving back to his country-influenced folk-rock for the last three tracks.

With a warm, instantly comfortable singing voice and a nice variety of approaches to his tunes (all of which have the kind of addictive melodies you find yourself humming long after you've listened to his album), it's the sort of release that just grows on you the more you listen to it.