Floridian singer-songwriter Matt Hires upended his life for the better when he and his wife relocated to Nashville and he fell in with a group of other writers that gathered each week to share the music they’d written that week over a good bottle of bourbon. That’s just one reason why Nashville births songs like Detroit used to churn out cars. That process led Hires to create the strongest set of songs of his career. With a charismatic voice that echoes R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe and a sound rooted in ‘90s alternative rock crossed with Americana, Hire’s new album, American Wilderness releasing this Friday, pulls you right in with its slate of deeply personal, searching, musically accomplished alt-pop songs. Hires has a voice to light arenas and thrill small songwriter night crowds. He’s the real deal and will make you a believer.
Hires tells PopMatters that “American Wilderness is my third, full-length album, but it’s the first one that I made completely independently. I got to make it with my friends, without having to ask permission from anyone about anything along the way, and the result is, by far, my favorite album to date. It’s a collection of songs that are mostly about wrestling with faith, doubt, culture, and identity in America. It’s more musically adventurous than my previous releases. And, it represents a turning of the page artistically, for me. I hope that old fans and new fans can both find something worthwhile and meaningful in American Wilderness.”