Matt Armor is bringing the country twang to Santa Barbara with his latest self-titled release. The album’s black-and-white cover poignantly illustrates a working musician’s life; on the front, we see a man plucking his guitar on a lonely street next to a record store; on the back, a man, woman, and dog drive off into the dawn. The album features influences that run the gamut from rockabilly and country to folk and blues, with Armor’s guitar and vocals providing the foundation for most songs. Early on, “Greenlight Eyes” teases audiences with a bluesy progression that doesn’t resolve, hanging on key areas to build tension and complexity. Meanwhile, an electric guitar gives the track a great honky-tonk groove guaranteed to get beers flowing and audiences moving. Armor’s style is melodic and expressive in the way that blues musicians can evoke such clear emotion through the repeated bending and slurring of phrases. On “Lullaby,” Armor reveals his more melancholy side with a song that sounds as if it were spawned from some deep life thinking. He howls lines like, “What good is a heart, if it lies to you? / You tear it apart, and it cries to you,” while a walking bass line and folky strumming nicely echo the dark lyrics. Ultimately, Armor and his band prove successful in putting together an album that drips country and blues attitude, evoking a different kind of small town into the Santa Barbara scene.


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