Matt Blake is excited to announce the release of “Ohio.” The single, premiered by The Bluegrass Situation, is the first offering from his highly anticipated second album, out this winter via JTM Music. Listen to “Ohio” here.
Recorded in Los Angeles at Dave’s Room and produced by Doug Pettibone, the track was engineered by David Spreng, with Craig Brock mixing. The all-star band that played on the record includes Pettibone on guitars, mandolin, pedal steel, and background vocals, Patrick Warren on keys, David Piltch playing bass, Don Heffington on percussion, and Alice Wallace, Kim Yarborough, and Gia Ciambotti adding vocals. Further, Matt wrote all the songs on the album.
About the new single, Matt declares, “My friends and I always talked about escaping Warren, Ohio, the minute we graduated high school. The night sky glowed orange from the Youngstown steel mills, and the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland. That’s probably why I thought living in Los Angeles was a dream. It was exotic every day. I didn’t appreciate Ohio until years later. Ohio felt like home, and that’s a feeling I never want to escape.”
Born in Leonardtown, Maryland, Matt was raised by a minister and social activist father and a mother who was a librarian. The family was always resettling, moving between Washington D.C., Cleveland, and Warren, Ohio. Matt got caught up in those constantly changing environs, moving on to Chicago, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Albuquerque, Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, and eventually Appleton, Wisconsin. While in Nashville, he got a job working as a stagehand at the famous Ryman Auditorium. He met an endless parade of stars and celebrities who played the fabled stage — among them, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and even Keith Richards, for whom he wrote a song that appeared on his first album, “Keith Richards’ Bones.”
Eventually, he gained employment with Lucinda Williams, taking on various jobs, including merch, assistant tour manager, and tour manager. At one point, her guitarist — that very same Doug Pettibone — overheard him playing a song on guitar and urged him to show off his skills to Lucinda. She was so impressed that she had him open on tour in the U.S. and abroad. Pettibone himself went on to produce Matt’s first album, All the Dirt in Town, which also found Lucinda showing her support by sharing a duet on one of its songs.
Blake paid his dues, working his way up the proverbial ladder and gaining practical music business experience while cultivating what it takes to write songs that resonate with others, just like his musical heroes Hank Williams, Lou Reed, and Johnny Cash, among them — but he always makes it his priority to pay service to the song.