News and Tribune

April 2, 2013

BEAM: Spinning yarns into solid gold

Local columnist

— Everyone has a different way of sharing their story. Some paint magnificent scenes on a sheet of canvas. Others get their lives inked on their skin. And then the most insane of us write columns and make unsuspecting readers like you peruse them.

Matt Gold sings. The words he pens for his songs are as deep as any Tolstoy novel, his voice as rich as a baroque painting, and his heart is as open as any book you can find in your local library. 

I met Matt during a Mongolian Fashion Show held at Franklin College. My friend Lisa had introduced me to his amazing music and I wanted to talk to him about his songwriting. You can tell he puts a lot of his soul and emotional baggage into his tunes. Most writers could learn a thing or two from him about honesty. Matt is Matt. In the musical era of Justin Bieber and Kesha, you’ve got to appreciate that simplicity.  

“Music today is too manufactured, too overproduced. I don’t think a lot of it is quality. I think it’s just a bunch of people with ideas hitting auto-tune saying make me sound good when really the heart and soul isn’t there,” Matt said. “I don’t feel like I have to put on some big fabricated show to get people’s interest. I think that’s why people really like my music. I’m being honest. I’m being who I am.”

As an only child being raised in a small Midwestern town, Matt enjoyed artistic pursuits. With only six months of piano training, he began to compose music while in his teens and started to record his own songs at the old age of 17. He’s been writing and singing ever since, living up to the term singer-songwriter on every degree. 

Life wasn’t always easy for the young singer. Demons have a funny way of working themselves into our lives. Matt’s adoption as a child always seems to be near the surface of his heart. To this day, many of his lyrics have a sadness resonating through them, a lingering remnant of the abandonment he said he feels from not knowing his birth family. 

“I think the being adopted thing really plays a part in my songs. Just the whole, who am I? What am I about? I still don’t have those answers and maybe once I get those answers something in me will change,” he said.

Last fall, Matt released his first album, “Drown Before You Swim,” produced in good ol’ Bloomington, Ind. Two separate discs are included in the set, one appropriately titled “Drown” that’s a bit more somber, and the other upbeat disc “Swim.” In fact, you can even sample some of his tracks on iTunes. Fans have welcomed the songs, even sending Matt letters telling him how they can relate to his music. 

“That tells me I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I think my music tells the story of a guy that’s been horribly disappointed by the way life has gone,” he said. “We all have demons we have to face. I’m still working through mine. I do use my music as an outlet.” 

With one album already under his belt, the Ohio native has been heading out to Los Angeles to record his next collection of songs that will be released this fall. Numerous industry insiders are collaborating with Matt on the compilation — producers and musicians that have worked with Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, John Fogerty and Johnny Cash. Drummer extraordinaire and former Indiana resident Kenny Aronoff is producing the venture.

“It’s very humbling. In my head, it’s slightly intimidating, but working with them is not intimidating,” Matt said. “And when I look at the list of people they have worked with, I’m amazed. These are people I’ve known all my life. It’s like wow. I’m with the veterans of rock ‘n’ roll.”

And although he’s resided in Bloomington for the past 10 years, things might be looking a little sunnier for Mr. Gold as a move to the West Coast may be in the near future. But for now, he’s excited to have the opportunity to make this new album and continue singing and song writing full-time. 

“I feel that it’s where I am supposed to be,” Matt said. “I feel this is what is supposed to be happening.”