On his new album, Matthew Hornell may not have it all just yet, but he’s well on his way. The record, titled Have It All, is slated for release on February 19th and tells of loves lost and loves found and displays a more mature and adventurous batch of songs than Hornell’s first record. The singer/songwriter’s first effort as a solo artist is a distinctly “Matt Hornell” album that carries a consistant and familiar vibe through all ten tracks, and nicely marries influences varying from folk and traditional, to rock and country.
Now three years on from the release of his first self-titled release as Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds, Hornell shows his growth as a musician and a songwriter with this new offering. Have It All is more daring than what he’s done in the past, and while it has raw and emotional moments, the end result is a more produced and polished affair. That said, Hornell hasn’t abandoned his sound, but he’s matured, as a writer and a singer, and this new record is a testament to his growth while incorporating some new influences.
Have It All flows well from beginning to end, with tunes ranging from slow waltzes and ballads, to up-tempo barn burners, to traditional Celtic style reels. The catchy and poppy track “Midnight” is definitely a stand-out, with Hornell singing over acoustic guitar picking and a driving drum machine, all the while being met with beautiful vocal harmonies and gentle countermelodies on the slide guitar. This track is a prime example of Hornell’s growth, taking chances and adding programmed drums, a choice he may not have made in the past. The great groove and funkier vibe on “Crimes” also deserves special attention, along with the burnin’ dobro solo on “Relief”.
When all is said and done, Have It All marks an exciting maturation in Hornell’s relatively young career, and is an album that itself matures with time and gets better with each listen. While not revolutionary, Matthew Hornell’s new album is one that dares to take a few risks and move in a new direction and is deserving of a listen.
If you’d like to get an early preview of Have It All, Matthew Hornell will be in town for a CD release show at Whelan’s Gate on February 9th, joined by Corner Brook locals and ECMA nominees The Heavy Horses. If you like what you hear, you can pre-order the album from Hornell’s Bandcamp page ahead of its February 19th release. Take a listen to two tracks below and tell us what you think!