Thursday, November 2, 2017


Now here's the way to rock some Matt Mays. This baby comes as a two-record set, on clear vinyl, spinning at 45 RPM for better sound. Not that it really matters all that much how it looks, but it feels better, like cruising the highway in a convertible instead of a Civic, you know?

Mays fights back against broken hearts, the internet age and the slow death of rock 'n' roll with a great explosion of guitar, a celebration of the old religious belief that this music can save souls. True love still matters, "bring on the heartache, your love is not for the faint of heart," he dares, like some Viking ready for battle. And the battlefield is his old stomping grounds, a thousand different bars that are all the same, where things can go bad, but great too, like in Howl At The Night: "Hey barman, get it right this time, pour some life into these jaws of mine." In the great rock 'n' roll tradition, he even has time for a self-mythologizing line, "This old coyote has seen too much, with the sha-la-la's and the such-and-such." And he's certainly not a winner all the time. "Stop falling for New York City girls," is the wise advise handed out, "It don't matter what you do, don't matter what you say, she'll never love you anyway."

It all comes to a glorious finale on side four, with a trio of tunes take the congregation to new height. He celebrates the Old Testament formats on 78s 33s and 45s, singing "When you find out she has somebody else, just take that record right off the shelf." Next comes that old rock on the car radio metaphor, with Station Out Of Range, and last, there's a Meatloaf-worthy finale in Never Say Never. I know this record was made a long time before we lost Tom Petty and Gord Downie, but it sure feels like Mays stepped up to fill the gap.

Note to N.B and N.S. music fans: Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. for a pair of concerts in Fredericton and Halifax. Mays will be at UNB's Currie Centre on Jan. 19, and at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax on Jan. 20.

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