Mat D. | Plank Road Drag

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Plank Road Drag

by Mat D.

Hard-edged, earthy old time folk-roots meets time honored and deep seeded modern lyricism...conjuring up images of diners, motels, lost souls, sin and salvation along the edges of a rural route. A judgement day road trip.
Genre: Country: Alt-Country
Release Date: 

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1. Resurrection Cadillac
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2. Ford Marriage
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3:31 $0.99
3. Cannonball
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2:58 $0.99
4. Nails and Grease
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5. Three A.M.
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6. Forty Watt Moon
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7. Ribbon of Dirt
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8. Motorbelle
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4:31 $0.99
9. Dishwater Bourbon
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10. Plank Road Drag
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
No stranger to the western Iowa and South Dakota regional music scenes, Mathew deRiso a.k.a. Mat D has changed gears on his new album "Plank Road Drag." The CD is a departure from last year's critically acclaimed "Dirt Town City Limits" which featured the vigorous no holds barred outlaw country and southern rock offerings of backing band the Profane Saints. "Plank Road Drag" instead showcases deep-seated old time and bluegrass influences layered over Mat's signature molasses n' gravel tinged vocals and dynamic acoustic guitar. Produced by collaborator and band mate Kurt Mullins, the album builds on the natural, stripped down sound of Mat's award winning solo albums "Gasoline Rattle" and "Merciful 66." This time around however, production meant changing the formula used on his previous solo work.

"With my past records I was going for that one voice, one guitar approach. I enjoyed being able to go into the studio; sit in front of the mic and crank out these simple, bare bones type songs. Sometimes I'd record a mandolin part or Kurt would lay down a bass track or an occasional guitar track, then we'd mix it down and it's done. We kept it straightforward, honest and raw."

With the bare-bones route well traveled, it was time to for a change.

"My approach on Plank Road Drag changed while the band and I were working on Dirt Town City Limits. I wanted to take my time, slow down, work here and there and incorporate more instrumentation. It was really about building the songs from the ground up and thinking outside of my comfort zone as a songwriter and performer. I even taught myself how to play Banjo during the sessions! It's been a real labor of love for the past year and a half we've spent working on it. I think my core audience will enjoy the results."

The album will appeal to fans of American Roots music, folk, bluegrass, old timey, alternative country and early rock n' roll.

"There's something for everybody on Plank Road Drag. I'm sure a few fans will be a little hesitant to embrace some of the more hill country vibe on a few songs. I'm just trying to keep things inventive. As a songwriter I think it’s important to develop the music that’s coming out of me in the moment.”

The album goes from the front porch rockabilly blues stomp of opening track "Resurrection Cadillac" and makes a quick transition to the claw-hammer banjo and mandolin dominated track "Nails and Grease"; and while a few tracks on the album hold true to the underpinning of Mat's other solo works, the record shows a songwriter breaking innovative musical ground and holding his own in the process.


Reviews


to write a review

Jim Pipkin - Hickorywind.org

Mat D's "Plank Road Drag"
One thing I like about writing reviews - hell, the ONLY thing I like about writing them - is getting the chance to hear great music before everyone else. Or before a major record label comes in and shits all over it.
Otherwise writing just takes time out of my life that could be spent experimenting with new ways to harm myself.

I've been following the musical journey of Mat deRiso for several fascinating years now. I've watched his sound morph, then morph again, then come completely out of left field. When I first heard he was planning to release a mandolin and banjo-flavored roots project, my first thought was "Don't go backwards!", because he'd just released "Dirt Town City Limits", which I still consider the best rockabilly album to come out of flyover since 1959.

I needn't have worried. Mat learned mandolin and banjo in a crash course. He then sat down with Profane Saints bass wizard Kurt Mullins to assemble ten memorable tracks that range from frenetic to mournful, from mountain to strip mall, banjo to subtle electric leads. Mat's lyrics dance like angels and demons cage-fighting on the head of a red-hot pin. How many? Who cares?

The disc cranks off with Resurrection Cadillac, straight up string rockabilly with a startling twang thrown in like the sudden shock of a thrown rod at ninety miles an hour. The poetry is graphic, funny, and at times sad enough to make me laugh out loud.

Ford Marriage comes next, a strange and twisted love song that will resonate with anyone who has ever left a love behind that could have been something special, if only we hadn't been so screwed up at the time. Reconciliation is for Hollywood.

In the ballad Cannonball a family breaks up, but then maybe it wasn't much of a family, and the strongest part of it just keeps going, because there's no choice.

Nails and Grease drags us down to a broken-down part of town, where the trucks don't run despite the best efforts of dirty hands. Lots of frustration comes through on this one, just the way it should.

Three A.M. is pure erotic poetry, if your Eros has other places to be right after you're done.

40 Watt Moon is the song of a broken heart with fine memories, no hope, and no decent place to crash.

Ribbon of Dirt is - damn. Just damn, this is one fine roots tune. It feels a hundred years old, sung like it was written yesterday. A fiddle would tear this sucker up, but I'll take what's given. Listened to it a dozen times, gonna listen to it some more as soon as I finish this column. Damn.

The tragic story of Motorbelle rolls out with such easy inevitability that it is almost surprising to see that more young folks aren't in the obituary column. Beauty and death. Good stuff.

I listened to Dishwater Bourbon quite a few times, because I just loved the slow, steady feel of it. Also I'm a big fan of bourbon, especially when it is used in conjunction with casual, guilty sex in a composition.

The disc ends with the strong, rolling, mandolin-rich Plank Road Drag, where surreal beat poet meets drunken hillbilly in a roadhouse.

I have one complaint on this disc. I wish it had been longer, because I have to get up and restart it too often.

www.twangnation.com

dusty gems
Country and blues music has always mined the life’s mundane moments and extracted nuggets of domestic mythology shimmering with love, lust, booze, blood, tears, asphalt and diesel fuel. With these elements masters like Hank Williams Sr., Neil Young, Towns Van Zandt and Bob Dylan - and latter day troubadours like Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle and Chris Knight - transcend whatever genre they are bridled with and forge minor pedestrian masterpieces.

This second solo release from Sioux City, IA’s Mat D (Mat deRiso) draws from the same humanistic sources. Assuming a more Americana tone than the country-rock his Profane Saints offers, Plank Road Drag works a well-worn sonic landscape but still manages to uncover many dusty gems.

The disc cranks off with Resurrection Cadillac, straight up string rockabilly with a startling twang thrown in like the sudden shock of a thrown rod at ninety miles an hour. The poetry is graphic, funny, and at times sad enough to make me laugh out loud.

The album opener is bathed in the sanctified blues of Leadbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins, lurching forward like a revved-up version of Led Zeppelin’s back-porch stomper Black Country Woman.

Street souls collide in Ford Marriage. Mat D colorfully throws his Born to Run-style tramps toward a ramshackle wedding - “I'll trade a fan belt and a hub cap for a suit-coat and a tie, we’ll use her panties a a veil and wrap an old rag around her thigh and make a bouquet out of tumbleweeds and hold on ‘til we die, my my.” - until passion’s heat burns away all that’s left is matrimonial ash - ”Turns out a house of love don’t run on truck-stop grease and gasoline.”

Doomed romance continues with Cannonball as family plight and hardship runs as rough as their path toward Texas. Three A.M. refuels the dirt-floor romance, gliding like a fever-dream vision of trailer-part trysts. 40 Watt Moon is the fever aftermath recounting beautiful memories and empty bottles.

Ribbon of Dirt uses the hard-bluegrass of Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road to tell another hard tale of the road’s siren call and Motorbelle is a beautiful, moody white-trash serenade “she was silver and gold from the trailer, she was sequins and jewels from the trash, she was flesh, she was blood,she was lonely, spilling out of old strapless dress with her big hair all pinned up and perfect all that Tammy Faye make-up a mess.”

The album closes with the bluegrass-tinted title song, where Mat d uses hillbilly poetry that could easily be inspired by watching the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? with the sound down and Guy Clark on the turntable turned way up high.

Mat D's Plank Road Drag is an ambitious record that hits on all cylinders to set a high water mark for any other contender for this year’s album of the year.

Simon - Beat Surrender UK

...tales of dirt road diners, highway dreams and dust bowl babes....
...preferring to enlist the help of only one of the Profane Saints – bassist Kurt Mullins who also handled the recording and production of this ten track release, as well as playing electric guitar, fretless bass and percussion, Mat d. handles the vocals of course and arms himself with banjo, mandolin and guitar, the collaboration has yielded a far more earthy release, the sound’s pared back and stylistically it’s a big step away from Dirt Town City Limits but the transition is handled deftly and the end result is an excellent listen that gives a greater emphasis to the song-writing which is high quality stuff, tales of dirt road diners, highway dreams and dust bowl babes.

Baron Lane - Twangnation.com

...an ambitious record that hits on all cylinders ...
Country and blues music has always mined the life’s mundane moments and extracted nuggets of domestic mythology shimmering with love, lust, booze, blood, tears, asphalt and diesel fuel. With these elements masters like Hank Williams Sr., Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan – and latter day troubadours like Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle and Chris Knight – transcend whatever genre they are bridled with and forge minor pedestrian masterpieces.

This second solo release from Sioux City, IA’s Mat D (Mat deRiso) draws from the same humanistic sources. Assuming a more Americana tone than the country-rock his Profane Saints offers, Plank Road Drag works a well-worn sonic landscape but still manages to uncover many dusty gems.

Resurrection Cadillac, the album opener is bathed in the sanctified blues of Leadbelly and Lightnin’ Hopkins as it lurches forward like a revved-up version of Led Zeppelin’s back-porch stomper Black Country Woman.

Street souls collide in Ford Marriage. Mat D colorfully throws his Born to Run-style tramps toward a ramshackle wedding – “I’ll trade a fan belt and a hub cap for a suit-coat and a tie, we’ll use her panties a a veil and wrap an old rag around her thigh and make a bouquet out of tumbleweeds and hold on ‘til we die, my my.” – until passion’s heat burns away all that’s left is matrimonial ash – ”Turns out a house of love don’t run on truck-stop grease and gasoline.”

Doomed romance continues with Cannonball as family plight and hardship runs as rough as their path toward Texas. Three A.M. refuels the dirt-floor romance, gliding like a fever-dream vision of trailer-part trysts. 40 Watt Moon is the fever aftermath recounting beautiful memories and empty bottles.

Ribbon of Dirt uses the hard-bluegrass of Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road to tell another hard tale of the road’s siren call and Motorbelle is a beautiful, moody white-trash serenade “she was silver and gold from the trailer, she was sequins and jewels from the trash, she was flesh, she was blood,she was lonely, spilling out of old strapless dress with her big hair all pinned up and perfect all that Tammy Faye make-up a mess.”

The album closes with the bluegrass-tinted title song, where Mat d uses hillbilly poetry that could easily be inspired by watching the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? with the sound down and Guy Clark on the turntable turned way up high.

Mat D’s Plank Road Drag is an ambitious record that hits on all cylinders to set a high water mark for any other contender for this year’s album of the year.

Bryan Childs www.NineBullets.net

Odds on fave for my top 10 of the year... Essential Listening
Mathew Deriso has been a fixture here on ninebullets about as long as this site has been around. Really, judging from Plank Road Drag, one could say we’ve grown up together, had ninebullets continued to get better over the years. 9B’s shortcomings aside, Plank Road Drag is Mat D’s coming out party. Mat’s past records, be it solo or with his band, The Profane Saints, have all been fine records with plenty of tracks that still live on my iPods, but Plank Road Drag is the first album that gets an unadulterated rip into my inner digital network.

Plank Road Drag consists of 10 tracks largely featuring Mat and an acoustic guitar up front and center with a minimalist set of backing instrumentation. Honestly, I think Mat is best found in his element with this setup. He has a great voice and his lyrics are solid, both of which can get clouded out when he’s putting out material with The Profane Saints. Mat says that his songwriting approach changed while the band was working on recording The Profane Saints’ last album, Dirt Town City Limits, and if that’s the case I think he needs to stick on the path he started down, ‘cause Plank Road Drag was a 2 story step above anything he’s released to date. Odds on fave for my top 10 of the year, easily Essential Listening today

One Chord to Another

...it is indeed a very fine album...
This road trip is all about country, blues and old time music. Old-fashioned you might say, but in the end good songs are always in fashion and Mat deRiso is certainly capable of writing those. My own favourite is probably the rough, raw and captivating bluegrass song Ribbon Of Dirt, but it’s certainly not the only good song. Most of the songs do hit the target and inject a high dose of raw but beautiful americana into your veins. A couple of songs like the opener Resurrection Cadillac gets a little too bluesy for my own personal preference, but it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with those songs. That’s just not totally my kind of music. However, most of Plank Road Drag is my kind of music and it is indeed a very fine album.