For some gentle, easy-going summer listening, check out the warm, heartfelt music of Matthew Szlachetka. His solo debut album is Waits For A Storm To Find. He’s accompanied by acoustic guitar, percussion, tasteful electric guitar licks, tinkling piano and little bursts of horns, but the focus stays firmly on his smooth vocals. These peaceful front porch sounds belie the melancholy lyrical content in songs like the piano-driven “Come Home for December”:

“Nobody told you right from wrong
you left early, and I wish I tagged along
we’ve grown divided
how time is strange
I’m wondering where you are.”
“Come home for December, we can put your reggae on
come home for December, we can sing a song.”
– Come Home For December

There’s the bluesy lament of “I Can’t Look At Your Face” that brings out some vocal grit, the introspective and quiet folkiness of “Carry Me Home” and the driving rock insistence of “I Keep Telling Myself It’s Fine.” In “Threw You Away In Los Angeles,” one of the album’s strongest tracks, he moves from wistful sorrow to inner strength and determination, from mournful blues to celebratory rootsy rock with soul-fortifying backing vocals. For those who love traditional heart-on-your-sleeve music, there’s a lot of different moods to enjoy here.

Szlachetka was previously the lead singer for the Los Angeles roots/rock band The Northstar Session, which saw a good deal of success, performing with bands like John Waite, Camper Van Beethoven, Chris Isaak, Fishbone and The English Beat. They even appeared on the hit TV show “Parenthood.” Despite all that, he felt there was something missing artistically, which led to his decision to strike out on his own. This debut solo album is obviously very personal for him. As he says, “I think it’s my most honest work to date. These songs are coming from a darker place in my life that I wasn’t necessarily as comfortable talking about or letting people in on.”

“The question of love sits on the table
A love that brings you home every night
that cripples your senses
harmony is tough
Sometimes love ain’t enough.
– Waits For A Storm To Find

He has quite a few shows scheduled from the start of next month through mid-September, mostly around the Northeast and the West Coast. This includes gigs in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Oregon and Washington state. Locally, he’s at The Lobster Shanty in Salem on July 17 and is performing at the Northampton Concert Series on July 18. See his complete tour schedule.

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