[Image description: Matt playing keyboard]
Actually, Matt Alber has just turned forty. Which, quite naturally, is just wonderful! The old adage states that, “Life begins at forty.” Though to be honest, Matt appears to have been seizing at what his span has to offer for quite some years now. As an exemplar to us all, his existence led as he sees fit and following wherever his dreams lead, he is greatly to be admired.
Also absolutely fantastic - but not quite the same order of fabulousness - is the fact that my article published on 26th June 2013 (6.26.2013) on Matt Alber in Birmingham (not Alabama!) (see screen-shot image below) has breached fifty thousand (50,000 ; 50K) viewings this February. Unless the same few folk have been revisiting over and over, that means some fifty thousand individuals have read my blog-post. Truly humbling.
I do not think for one moment it has anything whatsoever to do with my writing, but rather interest in the subject himself, the eponymous singer - musician - composer - photographer - artists’ model - cum - occasional silk screen-printer. This multi-talented chap just keeps on surprising his fans: last year a cultural exchange trip to ostensibly homophobic Russia, whence Matt received a right royal welcome; this year celebrating his birthday with new friends in Sudan, where he has been supporting and singing with Sudanese choirs.
The chap who practices love-in-action (aka agape), better than many a so-called (mean-spirited) Christian, requested that instead of fortieth birthday gifts, donations be made to a young people’s homelessness charity, Larkin Street Youth Services, in his base residence of San Francisco. Whilst appearing to be a living saint, Matt does admit to faults, possibly even vices, in his lyrics - well, that is assuming his compositions are autobiographical and not simply fictional narrative. We all are well aware that assumption is the mother of all f*ck-ups (after “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”): so, Matt probably IS in actuality a saint!
I suppose I have created my own beatific altar to saintly Matt via by blog-posts on him, but from a readership angle especially the Brum one. Although from a personal perspective my ginger take is more of an homage - he certainly gets me all numinous!
Looking at my iTunes list of twenty-five most played pieces of music (see image above), it is not until position sixteen that another artist gets a look-in and a separate artist at number twenty-two. Thirty-three of my top fifty most played are Matt Alber tracks, i.e. two-thirds. (In my top 100, Daniel Barenboim playing Chopin makes thirteen appearances; then Eva Cassidy and Bahramji & Maneesh de Moor with eight appearances apiece; next with three hits each Sébastien Tellier and Sir Neville Marriner conducting Bach pieces. Which should point to the fact I am no musicologist!)
Whilst from pure number of plays, “End of the World” would appear to be my favourite track; it is in fact “Wallingford”. I was thrilled when Matt actually sang this in Birmingham. And I have never recovered from the erasing of the live video-recording which my normally very meticulous technical assistant somehow lost in the transfer process.
I was hoping Matt might reprieve the track last summer in Manchester; but it was not to be. Matt was as personable in M/cr as he had been in B’ham: a perfect English gentleman. Having watched videos on youtube, I know his speaking accent becomes less “American” over here in Blighty; though his sung articulation appears not to be affected by his peregrinations.
Unfortunately, I was having one of my extended periods of ill-health at the time of Matt’s Mancunian visit and so had to be whisked off by my carer as soon as the concert ended, and so could not chat with him, as after the Brummie recital. For this reason also, I never managed to write an item on his wonderfully generous performance.
My muscles were weak and I was suffering sporadic, unpredictable spasming, exacerbated by having to use stairs due to there being no disabled access to the venue. The photographs I endeavoured to take were pretty awful. The image at the head of this posting and below are from the event: the best I have to share I regret.
Finally, my thanks to those of you who read my articles, even if only the Matt Alber ones. And of course, my gratitude to Matt… for his music… for being himself… and sharing himself with us. Looking forward to the next album - no pressure now! ;)