Singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen, embellishing the hallways, rooms, and doorways of the folk conventions, guitars in hand or strapped to their backs, eking out a subsistence living at times, living out of their cars. Why do they do it? Some because they can't do anything else, I guess. As Pierce Pettis once told me about himself, he did what he did "because he couldn't do anything else." Pierce said he'd rather do something else, because he could make a better living, and he never counseled anyone to take up the "profession," and yet it's what he did.
So when I was in the music business, why, among the legion of troubadours out there, did I partner with the ones I did? I'm not sure I can point to one factor. Sovereign luck, deliberate choice, fortuitous circumstances, poor judgment --- all may have played a factor in my choices. But I know why I chose Matt Auten: because of his literary nature, because listening to his lyrically rich songs is trip through countless metaphors, and because Matt himself is articulate, poetic, and a good guitar player to boot. Listening to his songs on this episode of Wide Angle Radio, I look for more instrumentation, a richer musical palette, but Matt wouldn't have it. He likes it mellow. And that's OK --- he's the one who dreamed up the songs in the first place.
Matt Auten, now by day a Black Mountain, North Carolina trim carpenter (he can do something else and, by all accounts, do it very well) is featured on this January 2000 episode of Wide Angle Radio. You'll enjoy the sounds, the interview, as well as other music by Bruce Cockburn, Matt Jones, Rick Unruh, and Jane Kelly Williams. Give it a listen here.