Led by Rachel White and Matt Plessner, the Grand Rapids rock band releases ‘Past Forward’ next week. The back story and the latest Local Spins on WYCE podcast.
EDITOR’s NOTE: This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE featured two sets of musical guests, The Hacky Turtles and Lighting Matches. Read the Local Spins Artist Spotlight on The Hacky Turtles here. Today, we feature Lighting Matches. Scroll down for the full radio show podcast.
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With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down all live music and altering life as we know it in 2020, Lighting Matches turned to the creative side of the band’s output: songwriting.
“I did a lot of writing in 2020,” conceded singer-guitarist Matt Plessner, who leads the folk-leaning Grand Rapids alt-rock group along with fellow songwriter Rachel White.
Consequently, the band also spent time at Planet Sunday Studios in Rockford with engineer and producer Joel Ferguson.
The result? “Past Forward,” the band’s sophomore studio album being released next week – a collection that also represents another step forward for a group that released its full-length debut album, “Against the Flame,” in 2019.
“We expanded skill sets and did a few virtual shows,” said White, who also honed her lead guitar techniques over the past few years.
“But ultimately, it made us strengthen and change a little as people, and I think that is reflected in our new material. It was rough getting through, but we came out a stronger band.
“The overall theme is sort of about learning and growing from your past experiences and letting them help you move forward in life. That’s how we came up with the title, ‘Past Forward.’ ”
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Lighting Matches debuted two tracks from that forthcoming album – “Lady Blanca” and “Powdered Drum.” View the video of a live rendition of “Lady Blanca” here and scroll down to listen to this week’s full radio show podcast.
VIDEO: Lighting Matches, “Lady Blanca” (Live at Smiling Acres)
Backed by bassist Scott Garrison and drummer Kevin Packard, the couple leans on a myriad of musical influences, from the country and classic rock of White’s background that gives Lighting Matches an Americana-infused flavor to the punk rock, jazz and ‘80s rock that has long enticed Plessner.
“I’m a big fan of just fusing a bunch of styles together that are influences,” Plessner said. “All four of us have a lot of different influences that we bring to the table.”
One of those four, however, will amicably part company with Lighting Matches next month “due to personal life changes.” Packard is “stepping back from music for awhile,” so Lighting Matches will be auditioning drummers and solidifying a new lineup for live shows in 2023.
Before that, the band plays The Iron Well in Grand Rapids on Oct. 14 (with Deep Enough and The Fabulous Vans) and Workshop Brewing in Traverse City on Nov. 4.
And they’re all eager to showcase material from the new album.
“I’m definitely, first and foremost, a singer-songwriter for sure, so I’ve really been dying to get some stuff out,” Plessner said.
Added White: “It’s been cool to bring these (songs) into the present day. … We got to play a few festivals this year, including our first time at Smiling Acres (near Trufant), and we are hoping to be involved in more of those next year. We will likely be recording again at some point next year and we’ve been enjoying getting to play some places new to us this year.”
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights Michigan music at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also featured an interview with The Hacky Turtles (who have new singles on the way) and fresh tracks from Myron Elkins, Cody Robert DeWindt, Slumlord Radio, Fake Baseball and Kari Lynch, as well as a classic song by Drew Nelson, who plays a LowellArts gallery concert in downtown Lowell at 8 p.m. tonight (Saturday). Listen to the radio show podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (10/7/22)
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