In an older time, when the content of music was important and music itself was not just ‘content’, Matt Boulter would have the same reverence as the likes of Nick Drake, Al Stewart, Ralph McTell.
He has been around for a while, is a favourite of Radio 2 and Uncut magazine, has a devoted following and is only releasing his fourth album in 12 years – his last ‘Clifftown’ was released in 2020 – and has had collaborations with the likes of Simone Felice Group, The Duke and the King, Emily Portman’s Coracle Band, Blue Rose Code, The Owl Service & Jon Boden’s Remnant Kings as well as one of my favourite Southend bands, Lucky Strikes.
The lineup for this album is: M G Boulter - Vocals, Guitars, Pedal and Lap Steel Guitar & Percussion, Harriet Bradshaw - Vocals, Cello & Percussion, Lucy Farrell - Vocals, Saw & Percussion, Neil McSweeney - Guitars, Bass & Vocals, Tom Lenthall – Piano, Helen Bell - Violin & Viola, Jenny Sturgeon - Vocals and Keyboards on ‘Talk to Me of Water’

Boulter is a remarkable songwriter, writing and singing songs of real and imagined life in the suburbs and small towns. Songs of frustrated opportunities and the mundane realities of day-to-day modern living, underlain with a world of rumour and mystery, urban myths and the magical thinking we all use to bring shape to our lives, expectations and hopes.

He mixes the like of UFO sightings with the adolescent search for parties, the escape from reality of fishing with yearnings for a better life somewhere else. The songs of ‘Days of Shaking’ hint at UFO sightings, potential cave gods and visitations of the dead in dreams, all adding to the rich texture of people’s wants and needs but ultimately our belief in hope.

His is music of softness and gentleness, accepting of the weaknesses and foibles of us all, while he exposes and deliberates. Gentle acoustic music, full of strings and produced beautifully, he sings in a high tone, clearly but often wistfully sung, and there are times when you just lose yourself into the songs, emerging at the end with a start but remembering every note and lyric.

This is an important album. It shows that there are real songwriters still out there, and real musicians creating images in sung words.
I’m not sure that this society deserves MG Boulter, but I’m so glad he still exists to shake a fist at the ‘content’ pedlars.