"The Lost Way" is a mix of British (and one Swedish)traditional ballads and original folk songs influenced by late 60's/early 70's British folk music by the likes of Bert Jansch (Pentangle), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Dave Cousins (Strawbs). The acoustic guitar & vocal approach is enriched by arrangements involving flute, female vocals, cello, and such.
Five of the album's songs are Matt Schwarz originals, with varying styles: the bouncy, crowd-pleasing title track, with it's English fairy tale lyrics; the modern folk of "Seasons", the Celtic-influenced, poetic "I Long To Feel A Gentle Breeze"; the haunting, chromatic "To The Distant Beloved"; and the multi-part mini-epic "The Faerie Queene". These songs focus on the guitar/vocal arrangements of Matt's live performances, with a couple mandolin contributions by Sacred Fool's Steve Klem and occaisional flute. Matt also includes two original instrumentals - the medieval-sounding guitar solo "The Woode So Wylde" and the Irish-influenced flute solo "Farewell & Fare-thee-well", written in memory of Matt's grandfather, David Curtis Amidon.
The remaining 4 songs are traditional. "Scarborough Faire" features a duet with Cheryl Bonnie Filipak (whose lovely soprano was a part of Sacred Fool for a while), and is accompanied only by the haunting drone of the dulcimer. "Robin Hood & Little John" is a bouncy, 7-minute centuries-old epic ballad. Matt illustrates the tale with a jig and reel on the flute for the quarterstaff battle and a gentle mandolin solo for the slow part. The overall effect is reminiscent of a Fairport Convention epic ballad, with the rock elements taken back out! "Little Katie" again features a duet with Bonnie, with harmony flutes and guest Todd Lanka on 'cello. The medieval feel of this ancient Scandinavian narrative ballad is emphasized by the use of harp in place of guitar. "Lord Lovel" is a lovely tragic ballad, richly arranged with contrapuntal harmony flutes and 'cello.
Matt Schwarz is a founding member of progressive hard rock/metal band Sleepy Hollow, in which he shares vocal duties and plays guitars, flute, and (on the new disc GOIN' OVER) harp. He has deep love and interest in folk/traditional music, classical & early music, and heavy metal. The style of progressive rock, which Matt has been influential in pushing Sleepy Hollow towards, allows him the freedom to mix these styles at will. Since 2003 was a slow year for Sleepy Hollow, Matt used the time to pursue his folkier side in more depth. He began performing solo gigs centered around traditional songs and a number of original acoustic songs, as well as forming acoustic band Sacred Fool with 12-string guitarist Steve Klem. Matt also began recording THE LOST WAY, featuring his original folk songs and some traditional songs (mostly ones he'd done some lush arrangements for in his folky days prior to joining Sleepy Hollow in the late 90's).