‘You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.’ So wrote Chuck Palahniuk in ‘Fight Club’.
Matthew Shepherd may be a Criminal Barrister’s Clerk in his day-job, but outside that, he’s a musician with a debut album that broke the iTunes Top 100 Singer/Songwriter Album Chart the day after its release in 2015, as well as 2 European tours to his credit.
It’s not always easy to maintain the work/life balance with a demanding job, but he’s clearly got some drive, scoring out snippets of demos and lyrics during lunch breaks and so on, to deliver album number two that was ‘difficult’ due to time rather than a lack of creativity.
If anything, the external constraints have focused his energies, and with the songs being centred around just guitar and voice, there’s a directness and immediacy to the songs on ‘Waiting Up At Night’ that makes their impact all the greater. Not that there’s no detail in there: Shepherd throws in subtle additions (there’s a fair bit of banjo in the mix, but don’t let that put you off), which add depth to the arrangements.
It’s fair to describe ‘Waiting Up At Night’ as a collection of love songs, and there are some light, breezy reflections of joy and wistfulness on offer here, delivered with an honesty and intimacy that reaches into the listener. It’s Matthew’s voice that defines the album: it’s a good, clean, soulful voice, and his lyrics are personal and heartfelt without being overblown or emoish, even as he sings of anguish and heartache. It’s not hard to hear the appeal.
Matthew Shepherd Online