After nearly 5 years of writing and 9 months of recording, 17th Street, the second album by singer/songwriter Matt Hobbs, is hitting digital shelves this summer. A collection of 13 songs, the Atlanta-based artist’s sophomore effort chronicles the tale of a young man’s journey from fresh college graduate to full-on adult.
“It’s a concept album about a guy in his early 20s, who moves to Atlanta. He’s not sure who he is, not sure he even wants to be there, but he’s going to give it a go,” explains Hobbs. “The record explores his first 5 years as a transplant in a new city and everything that happens along the way. Relationships come and go – as do times of stress, loneliness, and happiness. He makes mistakes. He even falls in love a few times. When listening to this album from start to finish, you’ll hear the story of someone coming to grips with being ‘a grownup’ and ultimately finding his place in a beautifully chaotic world.”
Like many of his musical heroes of the Benjamin variety, Ben Folds and Ben Gibbard, Hobbs was motivated to write the album as a reflection on his own personal experience. “I wrote these songs to help me organize a bunch of thoughts and feelings I needed to figure out – navigating relationships, living as a transplant in Atlanta. I really wanted to tell some true stories that were kind of scary,” he says. “Someone once told me, ‘If writing isn’t scary, it’s not real enough.’ So with these songs I’m trying to march in, tell some real stories, and make sure there’s some nugget of honesty at the core of each song.”
Recorded and tracked at Doppler Studios, 17th Street is produced by Ben Holst, the ATL-based musician, producer, and General Partner at Tunewelders. The record was mixed (Ben Holst) and mastered (Larry Anthony, COS Mastering) at Atlanta’s 800 East studios. All songs are written by Hobbs, and accompanying Matt on the record is:
- Ben Holst (engineer, producer, pedal steel, guitars, bass) – Atlanta producer and General Partner for Tunewelders
- Dave LaBruyere (bass) – Nashville-based bassist and former bassist for John Mayer
- Jason Shannon (strings) – Composer and General Partner for Tunewelders
- Chris Adams (drums, vocals) – Atlanta-based drummer from folk duo Threadbare Skivvies
- Jesse Nighswonger (ukulele, vocals)– Songwriter and musician from Atlanta, founding member of Jesse and the Great Perhaps
- Larry Anthony (mastering) – Principal at COS Mastering, Atlanta-based mastering engineer behind Clay Cook and Janelle Monae
“So many talented people worked on this project. That’s my favorite part of this whole thing: all the awesome folks who have contributed. This album started out as this super rough demo I made in my living room – that was about as far as I could take it alone. The musicians, engineers, designers, coaches, and people who listened and gave feedback during writing – these are the folks that made this record a reality. Because of this amazing collective effort, this album has taken on a life of its own,” explains Hobbs.
17th Street will be released on September 27, 2016 and will be available for free digital download on Gumroad as well as iTunes, Spotify, and limited physical distribution.
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