Australian country singer Matt Henry launched his debut album, ‘Love Without Co-Dependency’, at Brisbane’s The Junk Bar (27 April).
The Junk Bar is a small space for music gigs. The venue’s size is perfect for singer Matt Henry, whose songs reveals big truths in small, intimate moments.
Opener Harmony James was exceptional. With a twang in her voice, Harmony sang of heartbreak and the long journey it takes to heal from it with one particular song taking its lyrics from a beautifully sad poem written by a psychiatric patient 110 years ago.
One, happy song does appear but the humble singer joked it was due to a co-write with Brooke McClymont. Harmony mentioned she was pulled out of retirement for this show and it’s such a shame she even retired in the first place. Here’s hoping she gets the spark back and lets her voice soar again.
During her set, Harmony praised headliner Matt Henry as having the lyrical album of the year. Backed by double bassist Sonic (possibly not real name) and multi-instrumentalist Emma on fiddle, mandolin and backing vocals, Matt delivers stand-out lyrics.
From the softly tumbling title-track from his album, Matt opens with the knock-out lyric: “Say you love me, now say it again, say it so damn hard your spit’s gonna hit my skin.” Lyrics as brilliant as this feature in all of his songs and made the small audience’s ears prick up to these little wonders of poetry.
While Matt’s voice isn’t a torch-song belter or country yodeller, his soft voice brings these sad songs to life with his voice cracking on weepers like ‘Trying To Pretend’. His voice on the languid ‘Little Dead Bird’ is especially small and gentle, like the body of the title animal he buries in the song.
Even though it was a small room with a small crowd, there was probably not enough room for more people with the amount of heart Matt has.
If the best treasures are small ones from the heart, then Matt Henry is a city of gold.