First off, you have to immediately love a guy who was more into Stewart Copeland’s Klark Kent “alter ego” than he was into The Police.  That makes him instantly cool and forward thinking, period.  So with that having been picked up on in reading Matt North’s bio, I thought “I have to listen to this now.”  Thus, I did.  Above Ground Fools is the debut album from Mr. North, who has been a veteran session drummer, an actor and a stand-up comic.  Which speaks volumes, as these ten original songs are definitely wry/dry/witty observations on failed romance, lack of “newsworthy” news, legal battles and personal failure – all of which I can identify with and (unfortunately) embrace.  What you will hear is raw, ballsy, good old fashioned powerhouse rock & roll – and Matt North definitely knows how to rock (as he knows how to roll with the punches of life).  The self-production is top notch and this record simply kicks on several levels.

“A Good Day In Nashville” starts things off in a countrified way; here, Mr. North’s vocal delivery reminds me of the late, great Warren Zevon and the lyrics are a funny take on a day in the life (both the humdrum and bizarre) in Music City; “Seventeen Days” is soulful and has that “rockin'” groove to a story of a guy who has potential but no direction; “Miss Communication” is a throttling powerhouse with Hammond B-3 punches and crunch guitars and “I Sold It All” is the album’s highlight; a hilarious listing on moving on from one’s old life and heading into a free-r tomorrow.  “Badgering The Witness” has a great (almost Jackson Browne-like) flow and “Come Here Go Away”, the album’s closer, drives hard, fast and furiously and boasts an irresistible chorus.

For a first solo offering, Matt North has delivered in a big way and probably not intentionally.  That the songs are smart/clever is one thing; that the songs are well-constructed is another thing – that they have all the markings of an instant rock-pop classic is another thing.  A very good thing, actually, because this album is not to be overlooked.  It’s meant to bring a smile and a moment of “I know that feeling all too well”.  So yes, indeed – Matt North has done what many seek to do with a bang.


Above Ground Fools is currently available


About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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