Matt Duke is set to release his second Ryko album, One Day Die, on March 1st, 2011. Produced by Jason Finkel, the 11-track collection of whip-smart, emotive songs touches on the darkness implicit in that title and uses it as a springboard to redemption and rebirth. One Day Die is the anticipated follow-up to his Ryko debut, Kingdom Underground (2008).
“The new album has a few different styles, but it is pure singer-songwriter at its core with production that feels very aggressive and dynamic. I think that fans will be a little surprised and excited by the direction I’ve taken with One Day Die,” says the 25-year-old South Jersey native, who grants that he went to his own dark place last year after suffering a hand injury that was serious enough to jeopardize his ability to play guitar again.
”As strange as it sounds, that was a blessing in disguise,” explains Duke, “because it was something of an enforced break that made me reconsider everything. When I started again, I found myself taking a completely fresh approach – one where I was willing to just experiment with no reservations.”
“In the past, I made it a point to write songs that were less about my own personal experiences, but about interesting themes and sentiments that I could really relate to and express without feeling like I was giving away too much of my own history. This album is probably my most introspective to date. These songs are a reflection on who I was (and still am in some ways) and where I came from - it’s almost like a time capsule,” expresses Duke.
With his ingenious lyrics, power-punched vocals and soaring melodies, Duke accelerated his healing process and dug deep to craft these songs. He began to expand his horizons both sonically – evidence the doomy, string-laced opener “MLT” and the ethereal “Lay,” and in the incisive wordplay he works so effortlessly. Duke delivers his lyrics in a pure tenor that cuts straight to the bone -- particularly throughout the edgy “Kangaroo Court” and on the guitar-driven “Needle and Thread,” in which Duke assumes the role of the troubadour yearning to find “open arms at the bar for the prodigal son that often goes astray.” Such quests make up the heart and soul of One Day Die – an album which finds Duke asking questions of himself and which grabs listeners by the lapels and shakes them into a similar frame of mind. He literally puts them on the therapist’s couch for the roiling “Psycho-Babble,” and then reminds them – in the unflaggingly beautiful “Shangri-La” – “I know Shangri-La is somewhere near/ I’ve seen it, I’ve been there.”
That paradise aside, Duke has been to a lot of places since he began his musical career. Writing and performing around South Jersey and Philadelphia while in high school helped him win the respect of soon-to-be-collaborators like Marshall Crenshaw, Suzzy Roche and Dylan sideman David Mansfield. Barely past his 18th birthday, Duke recorded a demo that caught the attention of Mad Dragon Records, a label run by students at Philly’s Drexel University. Mad Dragon released Matt’s critically-acclaimed debut album, Winter Child, paving the way for his signing to Ryko, which spawned the well-received Kingdom Underground, produced by Marshall Altman.
Matt Duke is currently on the T.D.F.I. Tour across the U.S. with Tony Lucca and Jay Nash until the end of 2010. He will soon announce headlining dates for next spring in support of One Day Die.
ONE DAY DIE TRACK LISTING:
Love You Anymore
Needle and Thread
The Bench on a Hill And Tom Ramblewood
Seriously, Indulge Me