I have been fortunate to see Matt play in concert a few times, twice as totally solo and one with Kerryn Fields and his Dead Leaves bandmate Andy Pollock. This acoustic session finds him with just Andy and long-time Dead Leaves member Katya Horrop, recording live in the studio on September 1st, 2023, with everything just one take with no overdubs. The three of them have been working together for years, and it shows in this set of songs taken from his award-winning albums, stripped back with the three musicians linked in as well, with Matt’s wonderfully worn and broad vocals contrasting greatly with the sweet voice of Katya who harmonises wonderfully with him when the time is right.

A singer and a single instrument will always be the purest form of music for me, and I feel incredibly lucky to have seen Melbourne-based Gow play so many times in Auckland. He is at his most poignant when it is him and his guitar, and here the additional piano/banjo etc are nuanced and adding to the emotion without distracting from it. The title cut of his last studio release, “Between Tonight & Tomorrow” is evocative, passionate and full of fragile strength. It is no wonder that his alt country style has won him so many accolades in both the country where he now resides and the country of his birth as there is a depth of feeling here which is honest and calls to the hearts of the listener. The last time I saw him play I phoned my wife and let her listen to what was taking place, and she was blown away by what she heard, something that is true of all fans of this style of music. He may not be from the Deep South of America, but he is from Dunedin and that is pretty much the same thing (-45.87416, 170.50361), and this is an album I can play time and time again. Matt writes songs which are relevant and full of pathos, and he has friends around him how fully understand what he wants to achieve and enables him to do just that. This is essential for all fans of modern country, full of soul and heart.

Rating: 9/10