If you’ve been missing someone lately or if you’re wistfully nostalgic about some other aspect of your life, have I got the soundtrack for you! Matthew Connor is a Boston-based classic jazz crooner with an impossibly smooth, beautiful voice and deliciously dark undercurrent. He sings about melancholy, longing, unrequieted love and regrets — in other words, the perfect accompaniment for a lonely date with a bottle of bourbon in a dark corner of a smoky jazz club. His debut album, Farewell Motel, released last October, is a mournful stunner. All songs are written, performed and produced by Connor, with guests contributing pedal steel, upright bass, violin and viola, electric bass and backing vocals. The instrumentation, while gloriously lush as it ebbs and flows, is kept simmering in the background, perfectly complementing Connor’s rich-as-molasses vocals and highly visual, introspective storytelling.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and brought up in various small towns in Virginia, Connor began at a young age to write music on his parents’ upright piano, went on to play guitar and clarinet, and after being given a karaoke tape machine, started making demo tapes and mailing them off to label executives. He left high school to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, training in operatic singing. While there, he performed and toured in various theater productions. He soon realized that he wanted to perform his own music and relocated to Boston, joining the electronic dance-pop band Provocateur as frontman and releasing Bad Blood and Brushfire (2010). Farewell Motel, his first solo album, was released on October 14, 2014. His video for the lead single, “How Is July Already Over?”, filmed by New York photographer Marc McAndrews, was nominated for Music Video of the Year at the 2014 Boston Music Awards.
Connor just released a new video for “Limestone and Yew,” directed by Anthony Grassetti, which is as minimalist as you can get and breathtaking in its simplicity.
Those in the Boston area can see Matthew in person, as he’ll be performing at The Middle East Upstairs on Friday, June 5, as part of Doom Lover’s Vaudevillian Spectacular, also featuring Cordelia & The Buffalo. If you’re ever nostalgic for old-fashioned romance and the classy elegance of a bygone era, you’ve found a kindred spirit.