Matthew Check has been many things throughout his life – one half of feminist folk duo Joanie and Matt, a member of the Emmy nominated, rap-influenced bluegrass act Gangstagrass and a celebrated solo artist - but in everything he does he’s always fearlessly taken inspiration from his personal life; its ups and downs and round and rounds, his loves and his losses.
His latest release, The Bridgeford Sessions, is no exception, as he picks through the fallout from a relationship that had blossomed and broken down all in the space of a year. As the story goes, over the previous 12 months in his adopted hometown of New York City, he'd met someone and fallen in love, only to break off the relationship while spending some time in the American Southwest.
Upon his return to the city, he moved into their empty apartment, a place filled with reminders of the woman he'd left behind. "I really missed her right away," he explains. "I don't remember ever missing someone so much in my life, and knowing that I had lost her all because of my own doing."
While spending a heartbroken July 4th weekend at Rockaway Beach, he wrote the songs that would go on to become The Bridgeford Sessions, recorded two weeks later on a 1979 8-track tape machine in Bushwick. Captured entirely live during a single afternoon, the recordings add an easy warmth to the delicate heart-on-its-sleeve heartbreak of the compositions. Like a 70s Dylan blended with the candid self-deprecating songwriting of Loudon Wainwright III or Warren Zevon, the songs are sad and raw and often painfully introspective.
‘Okay With It’ is the first taste of the forthcoming EP and it’s premiering exclusively on Holler below.
“Though ‘Okay With It’ could be construed as autobiographical, it is a totally imagined story except for one detail”, Check explained to us. “During this past summer when I was subletting my ex-girlfriend's apartment in Brooklyn, she was receiving postcards in the mail from a friend on a regular basis (hence the lyric in the bridge: "these magical postcards that he's sending to you"). I remember my reaction to the regular arrival of mail-with-elegant-handwriting: Who writes actual postcards anymore? After the EP was recorded, my girlfriend and I patched things up, unexpectedly, and got back together. We're now sharing the same studio apartment in Brooklyn and still getting postcards from time to time”.
"We're still together and very much in love," Check adds happily, as excited to write the soundtrack for the next phase of the couple's time together as we will be to hear it. Until then, we’ve got the heartbreak to enjoy. When you know it’s got a happy ending, you can always enjoy the sad bits a little bit more.
The Bridgeford Sessions is out on March 11th.