Matthew Paul Butler (MPB) wants you to feel what he feels.
What he feels when he’s listening to Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan and Songs: Ohia’s Jason Molina. What he feels when he’s writing or performing — perhaps putting down the microphone, unplugging the guitar and inviting you to hear the sound of your own voice and all the voices of those around you, together in the ever-present moment.
He wants you to feel connected, finding the way between you and yourself or you and something greater — even if that “something greater” is just the combination of yourself and anyone sharing in the experience.
MPB’s music is equal parts delicacy and anarchy — indie neo-folk soul rock — emotional and musical nuance and egress. His post-church, visceral spirituals are often raucous and attention grabbing, but with enough subtlety to incline you to turn up the volume (or stand closer) and let your eyelids fall in sweet meditation. You’ll experience a range of emotions set to lingering, distorted chords to sparse yet deft acoustic fingerings that provide reason to reflect or to throw down and dance.
Growing up between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the U.S. as the son of a charismatic preacher in a time when western Christianity drew a line through the music industry and proclaimed anything not overtly evangelistic to be unfit to be heard meant listening to the music he wanted to listen to was a conscious act of rebellion, carried out until early hours in the morning with a tape deck radio and foamy headphones.
MPB has in some ways strayed from his youth of leading music in churches, but there’s an obvious similarity between his father’s work as a minister and his as a minstrel. Both get to travel to meet new communities and reconnect with old friends, swapping stories about what it means to be alive, what it means to feel, to get bent, to disown old ways of doing things and to seek a new path.
Far from faithless, MPB’s beliefs are found in the expression of his day-to-day living, in composing melodic poems directed to strike you at your center and move you to do more than fold your arms and bob your head because you’re, as one lyric intones, “too cool to dance.”
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll heed his invitation to join in on the experience with him — to feel what he feels. You’ll listen to the words written for the exact moment you’re hearing them, for the exact ears that are hearing them, written for you to sing as your own words with your own voice, at once feel your feet grounded to the floor and your heart beating as if to remind you that you’re here, that you’re alive in the happiness and groaning of life’s chaotic orderliness.
My name is Marcelo Asher Quarantotto.I WRITE WITH WORDS, PHOTOS, VIDEOS, WEBSITES AND MUSIC.
I am a father of three beautiful daughters and husband to the most gracious, saintly creature I've ever met. (You'll find pictures of them here from time to time.) I am also a multidisciplinary storyteller.