Rub the sleep from your eyes and greet another Monday morning. We’ve handpicked some tasty Colorado-made tunes to get your week started sweetly. This week, Steal This Track invites you to purloin music from Jay J Matott & the Arctic and Patrick Dethlefs, two acoustically-minded singer-songwriters who come from very different angles. Now’s a great time to start stealing.
Jay J Matott & the Arctic put out its first record in the summer of 2010. Since then, the band has endured lineup changes and struggles to make a few more recordings, finally arriving at its most mature work yet, this past summer’s “To the Big River.”
“I wrote the eight songs out of moments in my life where everything went dark or I felt like I was wandering through a mighty wilderness,” says Matott of the dense, melancholy album. With full-time Arctic members Crisanta Baker, Dan Garza, Marshal Usinger and Phil Owen — as well as contributions from Gabriel Jorgenson, Matt Wilcox and Justin Renaud — Matott constructed a haunting, tightly orchestrated collection of tunes that demand your attention with the quiet confidence of a long-dead ghost. Shrouded in melancholy and regret, songs like “Canyons” and “Citrus” wail, moan and whisper as they tremble by a campfire, deep in a cliffside cavern.
You can buy “To the Big River” from Amazon and iTunes. You can also download some of the band’s earlier work directly from wearethearctic.com. Steal “Wolf’s Blood” to get you started. We’re pretty sure you won’t want to stop.Switching gears from Jay J Matott & the Arctic to Patrick Dethlefs will remind you just how versatile simple acoustic music can be. The barely legal Dethlefs began playing guitar at the age of 12 and writing songs at 15. In 2009, he was recognized as Best Teen Songwriter by Swallow Hill. On his debut album, “Stays the Same,” and this past summer’s Daytrotter live session, Dethlefs proved his early success wasn’t a mere fluke, cranking out memorable songs and heartfelt performances with ease and grace.
Dethlefs’s latest release — a split EP with Eye & the Arrow — showcases an artist and performer whose confidence and craft belie his youth. Backed up by Eye & the Arrow’s Paul Dehaven (guitar), Jason Hass Hecker (bass) and Mark Anderson (drums), Dethlefs waxes poetic, both lyrically and musically. Though the band mines familiar alt-country material for inspiration, the record’s honest and well-crafted songs never seem generic. Steal “Done and Done” to whet your appetite, then click through to Bandcamp to download the whole EP. You can also catch Dethlefs live this Saturday, Dec 17, at the Thin Man Tavern.
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Eryc Eyl for consideration.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout for stories about Denver musicians doing extraordinary things. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.