Matthew Morgan is a folk troubadour of the most anachronistic sort, who pulls from Nick Drake as much as Neil Young. His tenor voice floats above delicate arrangements, but its warm, soulful character gives the feeling of great depth. A storyteller whose songs feel less like stories than paintings, he crafts his songs playing the guitar, piano, organ, harmonica, and a variety of other stringed instruments.
A lifelong Midwesterner, Morgan grew up in Ohio in a musical family -- his mother was an award-winning vocal and piano coach, his grandfather a professional saxophone player from the big band era. At the age of seven, he began singing solos in church and he's been pursuing the stage ever since. Studying opera and classical voice at Capital University Conservatory of Music, followed by a stint studying musical theater at Kent State University, he struggled to find his calling until an illness left him unable to work for a number of years.
After building the courage to sing his own songs, he wrote, produced, engineered and largely performed his 2011 debut Red Silhouettes himself, and the success of that record led to the formation of a proper band, Matthew Morgan and the Lost Brigade. The group's 2012 effort, Found, was nominated for three Indie Music Channel awards, and scored synchronization licenses with major outlets like MTV, the Disney Channel, the Discovery Network, and Viacom via Tinderbox Music. After headlining at Chicago's famous Double Door nightclub the band went on to share the stage with more notorious acts at music festivals including opening for Dave Davies (The Kinds) and Company of Thieves at Taste of Lincoln Ave (Chicago) and SXSW (Austin) in 2013.
In 2014 Morgan parted ways with The Lost Brigade and recorded a new solo EP with producer Nate Lockwood that was released the following year. While The Lost Brigade's sound was indebted to contemporary indie rockers like Wilco and The Decemberists, the “Empathy for Inanimate Objects” EP calls to mind the happier moments of Elliott Smith or the open-ended ponderings of Tom Brousseau. Songs like "Lost At Sea" show a truly remarkable ability to craft an atmosphere, with reverb-laden violin by Chicago native Sarah Blick and mournful low-end movement courtesy of Ohio cellist Greg Byers. "I believe that a lonely night / is a reason for changing," Matthew sings, and his voice betrays a weary optimism, the sound of one who has seen enough to know what he's talking about. However, it's on the fragile, keening "First Day" that Morgan's voice as a songwriter is most plainly heard. A gently-building arrangement, with more layers revealing themselves as the song progresses, the wordless chorus supports a painful lyric about the end of a relationship. Empathy as a whole was very well received and Morgan garnered his first published reviews and the inclusion in the "Best of 2015" by the Nashville Music Guide.
Again, the success of his second solo effort and the collaboration with some of Chicago's most talented musicians at a local pie cafe led to the formation of another proper band, Matthew Morgan and the Family Band. With the Family Band he went on to play at prestigious Chicago venues such as Subterranean, Martyrs', the Hard Rock Cafe and a grand debut performance at The Metro. The event was a gathering of friends and a celebration of accomplishments large and small. However, it would also signify another big change in Matt's life standing as his last show as a Chicagoan before relocating back to Ohio to be closer to family and start a new life with his new found husband. But, what about the band? The answer is complicated, but that band is still a band, still friends with a desire to make music together; they are separated by distance and working on their own projects. But, a group this talented doesn't just stop.
Presently, Matt is enjoying his new life and recording his third solo release, titled “Timepiece” with a hopeful release date in 2020. The new record will be a much more personal affair that won't shy away from commenting on the political turmoil surrounding the state of leadership and social polarization early 21st century American life...on this subject Matt has a lot to write about and a lot to say.