The urge to run away can be powerful, and while it is rarely followed through with, it can sometimes manifest itself in a song.
Brooklyn native, folk singer-songwriter and producer Matt Patrick Walsh released his new single, “Conor Pass,” which encompasses the relief found in your safe place, the hideaway that gives you a moment’s breath from the craziness of the world.
The single follows Walsh’s debut album, The Agora, from last year, which was recorded on cassette tapes, and will appear on his next LP, set to release at the end of 2021.
From the first strums of the walkdown that opens up the song, the listener is faced with an emotional juxtaposition, torn between the rhythm that begs for their foot to tap along while battling with the essence of darker notes lingering in audible shadows. Though at first the song appears somewhat happy, with a kid-like innocence and wonder about it, there are both sad undertones to it and depressing themes addressed throughout.
Walsh has two kids of his own, Penelope and Artie, with his wife Emma Jeszke.
Imagery-filled and sensitive lyrics such as “You wear a ball cap like you’re wearing a crown, but you’re gone, you wilt away, you just can’t stay” expose the sadder truth of the contents. The hopeful twist of the story comes shortly after, though, as he finds solace in his “hideout,” his “reprieve from the mania.”
The layers of harmonies throughout the song, utilized so purposefully that they’re arguably a third instrument alongside the acoustic guitar and occasional bright keys, only add to the melancholy effect. But then a cheerful piano motif appears to close out the song, at least somewhat literally ending it on a high note—a C4, to be exact.
Walsh says he has been “all over the place” with music, and a listen to his other project, Vivi Vulture, confirms that. This persona is under which he releases his more production-based work, from the 80s-synth-heavy “Home Workout VHS,” a fitting title reminiscent of that era, to the more piano- and bass-driven “Nick at Nite.” These lyric-less tracks have a classic feel of their own, different from his folk work, but with the same comforting familiarity of past times.
While it may be surprising the same artist writes both such acoustic and digital music from opposite ends of the spectrum, these dual identities merely exemplify his wide range, seeing as he has been “in and out of most musical scenes from jazz to funk to electronic to bluegrass.”