My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Matt Jenkins – Quarter of a Century: The Acoustic Sessions

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins

Matt Jenkins is a singer/songwriter from Texas. He came to Nashville a few years ago and was signed to Universal South by Tony Brown and Tim DuBois. He released a few singles that failed to catch on at radio, and was eventually dropped from the Universal South roster after Brown and DuBois departed the label. He then spent some time concentrating on his songwriting. Eight of his compositions appear on last year’s Quarter of A Century, a self-released EP.

All eight songs are simply arranged, recorded live in the studio, consisting of Jenkins and Mark Selby, who produced the EP, playing acoustic guitar. Jenkins, of course, is the lead vocalist, while Selby provides background vocals, as does Tia Sillers on the title track. This type of stripped-down arrangement works very well because it allows the listener to concentrate on the lyrics without the distractions of heavy-handed production and other studio bells and whistles.

“Want You Back”, the opening track, is not, as the title suggests, a song about a man begging his departing lover to return. Rather, the lyrics say:

I want you back in that Cadillac Eldorado backing out of the drive,
Leaving like there’s no tomorrow,
Back on that interstate, racing like the night you left me,
Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, foot on the gas,
That’s the way I want you back.

The first time I listened to this song, I was immediately reminded of Skip Ewing. Jenkins has a similar voice, and Ewing’s influence can be heard in his songwriting, particularly on songs like “Heaven (Back By Tonight)” (my favorite track on the disc) and “I’ll Remember For You”, a touching story about a man who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and his grandson’s pledge to remember all the stories his grandpa had told him over the years. Other tracks, such as “Going Nowhere” and “Some Kind of Sexy” are reminiscent of James Taylor. I later found out when I checked Jenkins’ MySpace page, that both Ewing and Taylor are among the artists listed as his influences.

I’ve made no secret of my dislike for the vast majority of the music coming out of Nashville these days. Listening to this EP gives me hope that all is not yet lost. Jenkins’ singing and songwriting are both stellar. My only criticism of this set is that it is a bit ballad-heavy. It does contain some mid-tempo numbers — “Want You Back”, “Back To You” and the title track — but it could benefit from the addition of a few uptempo numbers. Jenkins is reportedly currently working on a new project with Garth Fundis, who has produced such great acts as Keith Whitley, Don Williams, Trisha Yearwood, and Sugarland. Hopefully a new record deal will soon follow. Matt Jenkins is too good to languish in obscurity.

Quarter of a Century can be purchased at Jenkins’ MySpace page. Some of his other songs can be streamed there as well.

Grade: A –

9 responses to “Album Review: Matt Jenkins – Quarter of a Century: The Acoustic Sessions

  1. Occasional Hope April 19, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I really like his voice, but they only ship within the US

    He was one of the artists featured on a shortlived TV series (on Fox I think) which lasted about one episode a year or two ago, and I heard of him from the publicity around that and have occasionally checked his myspace since.

  2. J.R. Journey April 19, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I’ve never heard of this guy, but I did listen to a couple tracks from his MySpace page. Sounds promising. Wouldn’t it be great to hear artists with personality on the radio again?

    • Razor X April 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm

      It goes to show that there is still some good talent out there, but a lot of it isn’t getting heard at the moment. Hopefully things will turn around soon.

  3. Leeann Ward April 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I’ll have to check this out.

  4. Brady April 20, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I first came across Matt Jenkins on the short-lived show Nashville that Occasional Hope mentioned. Despite the short amount of airtime devoted to any sort of music, he intrigued me enough to check him out and I liked what I heard, but I don’t think he had anything available at the time. I’ll have to try and get a copy of this if I can.

  5. Crystal Carroll April 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I saw Matt Jenkins for the first time at the House of Blues in Houston 4/21/09. I had never heard of him before. Wow. I was totally impressed!
    I bought a CD and I love it!
    As I sat in that theater and watched and listened I felt as if I were a part of something special, like when you see a new artist and you just know he is going to be BIG! Matt has a huge fan in Houston tX 🙂

    • Josh Chapman September 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

      We sat in the upper deck, i think the 3rd row the night he opened for Zac Brown Band. It was amazing and we felt the same way. He is special. Maybe we were next to you guys.

  6. Sarah Case-Lathan August 23, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I heard Matt Jenkins for the first time last year over the Thanksgiving weekend when he performed at the Grapevine Opry. It was an amazing show and I immediately became a huge fan of his. I purchased his CD and had the priveledge of meeting him during the intermission when he was signing autographs. He is a very down-to-Earth gentleman and a true talent. I look forward to seeing him continue with a great career. His CD has become a staple in my car and even my 5 year old son loves to listen and sing along with his songs. 🙂

  7. Sydney August 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I love his song Heaven. Where can I buy his CD? I’ve been looking for it everywhere I can’t find it

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