Matt Buetow deals in the kind of music that will have you toe-tapping until—before you know it—you're two-stepping. It’s no wonder that Buetow draws inspiration from country mainstays like Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson and John Prine.
Though, it’s been an evolution.
Buetow grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin, but he never felt a connection to the modern pop country that was popular among his peers. In his earlier years as an artist, he gravitated toward more folk styles, mostly due to the country roots elements found in genres like bluegrass and traditional folk.
Buetow reflects that once “[I] found the wealth of amazing classic country songs out there, I discovered music that connects with me like nothing else ever has.”
From there, he began to develop his country Americana style rooted in honesty and simplicity.
Buetow adds, “I've always written from my own experience and now more than ever I want each song to be true and honest. Over the years I've also tried to strip away as much lyrical ambiguity and complexity as possible. Most of my favorite songwriters write simple, easy to understand lyrics that somehow carry more weight than intricate prose. In the same way that the musical arrangement of a song needs space and sometimes simplicity is the most effective approach, I believe many of the most powerful and beautiful lyrics are the simple ones.”
The song “Near Nothing,” performed at The Rye Room, is a prime example of this signature style in action. “[It’s] a cynical look at relationships,” Buetow acknowledges. “Likening them to a loan of happiness that you enjoy for a while but then end up having to pay it all back when the relationship ends.”
Simple, honest and powerful.