Matthew Logan Vasquez
$13 (ages 18+). Presented by Majestic Live.
press release: Matthew Logan Vasquez is feeling optimistic.
That’s not necessarily apparent the first time you spin his new full-length solo album. Each track on Matthew Logan Does What He Wants feels urgent and intense. Impatient landlords, financial woes and other frustrations fan the agitation embedded in the opening track, “Same.” Isolation darkens the brooding images of “From Behind The Glass.” Death takes a bow on “The Fighter.” Vasquez can’t help but juxtapose the celebration of “Fatherhood” with a lament that “we ain’t got the money to pay the hospital.”
The music enhances this impression. As fans of his work with Delta Spirit and Middle Brother know well, Vasquez knows how to fuse passion and poetry in his writing and then ignite this volatile mix with extraordinarily expressive singing. In this sense he stands as a peer and a worthy successor to those who influenced him as an up-and-coming artist — Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and others often mentioned, none of them known for their upbeat, sunny lyrics.
With the 2016 release Solicitor Returns. “That last record had a sarcastic, darker tone. The new one is just as hard-hitting and wide-ranging but with a more positive message.” This becomes clearer when you replay Does What He Wants and listen more carefully. On the surface, “Tall Man” unfolds as a journey into self-destruction. But at the end, the subject of the story is repeating “I know I can change,” each time with escalating emotion as brought to life in Vasquez’s searing vocal.
“Bad things happen in the song,” he acknowledges. “But it all leads to an epiphany. And that is positive. The truth rarely comes to you in an easy way — not unless you’re a wiser person than I am.
“My point is that life is a struggle,” Vasquez continues. “But how can you have optimism and hope if you don’t have something negative? Context is what makes it meaningful.”