(Also check out Matt's 1998 Debut CD Wnaderer's Dream at):
"It is always exciting when good songwriters hit their stride. Matt Lax hit it out of the park with Hurricane and a Tumbleweed. Nicely crafted songs and stylish arrangements tumbled into a beautiful and satisfying musical package." Mary Tilson - America's Back 40 - KPFA, Berkeley
"A storm of furious instrumental solos, bouncing rhythms and clever lyrics are the components from which Matt Lax's CD “ Hurricane and a Tumbleweed” is built. Expect to be swept away in a party of music." Fran Gray- Two Louies Magazine.com
(for full review copy and paste address below:
Matt Lax and Nearly Beloved
If Chet Atkins had ever studied African guitar pickin', he might've ended up with something like the "Afrobilly" guitar-style of Matt Lax. Hurricane and a Tumbleweed, the latest CD from Matt Lax and his band Nearly Beloved, melds
this unique guitar approach with good humor and an ample serving of classic Nashville songwriting. Soweto and Cameroon guitar influences shine through, yet the overall effect is Americana at its best. This album brims with swingin' tunes about insanity, a particular mama's boy, losing love to heroin and Jesus (in that order), and the moral dilemma of pig farming!
The tunes feature pedal steel, dobro, harmonica, B3 Organ, and rich harmonies --including backing vocals from Matt's former bandmates, from Zulu Spear. Inspiration from the likes of Bob Wills, Hank Williams and John Prine mixed
with Matt's Afrobilly guitar style and seamless songwriting put Hurricane and a Tumbleweed on a back-road you'll be happy to stumble upon.
Matt began playing bluegrass guitar at age nine, and spent his teen years between Los Angeles, Houston, and Austin among his many musically-inclined siblings. In '83 Matt moved to the Bay Area, and joined the South African
world beat group Zulu Spear. After a decade of touring and recording (and penning the title track for their 1991 Capital Nashville release Welcome to the USA) Matt left Zulu Spear to explore his own sound, and to further hone
his songwriting talents. Those talents came to fruition with Matt's 1998 release Wanderer's Dream. This all-acoustic album evokes the folksy,personal narrative style of the late great Townes Van Zandt, and Matt's singing brings to mind the deep tones of Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan.
The last few years have found Matt performing regularly with his group Nearly Beloved, and the band's woodshedding is evident on every track of their 2002 Attaboy Records release, Hurricane and a Tumbleweed.