Matt Wertz – Heatwave
August 27th 2013
Recommended if you like: Ben Rector, Augustana, Kenny Loggins
The love for music always originates from the artists we first hear performing it. Whether it was hearing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Boston playing on the classic rock station, or perhaps Boyz II Men and *NSYNC on the Top 40 station, these influential musicians permeate the sound of music still being written and produced today. For Matt Wertz, he took those influences to the next level with his latest release Heatwave.
Wertz, who is known for his acoustic guitar driven love songs, takes a different direction that has the potential to throw off first time listeners. For casual fans who may be more familiar with songs like “5:19” or “Everything’s Right,” this album may sound like it’s out of left field. However, those fans who follow Wertz closely see this album as both an outlet and a growing opportunity for his already stellar sound.
This release from Wertz is somewhat of a themed album, taking on the sound of the instantly recognizable 80s soft rock music made popular by artists like Kenny Loggins, Don Henley, and Bryan Adams. The lead single “Get To You” is a perfect mix of Wertz’s songwriting and vocals with that great 80s electric guitar. The music video is a terrific parody of the former pop culture and features cameos from fellow Nashville singer-songwriters Ben Rector and Steve Moakler.
Song after song hits home with that sound he was looking to get from this record, including outstanding songs like “Last Good Girl” and the pop ballad “Whenever You Love Somebody.” The jangling guitars on “Shine” show heavy influence of Don Henley and his time with The Eagles.
While Heatwave is certainly geared towards being a themed record, Wertz shows off his spectacular songwriting skills with the closing song “Thing About Freedom” that takes a step back from the synths and drums. In the chorus of the song he sings, “I’m downright evil, deeper down I’m good. There are things I’ve done I swore I never would. The thing about freedom that’s so misunderstood, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
Heatwave is certainly a fun record, but Wertz certainly doesn’t spend all this time working hard on it so that it may be taken lightly. This is a well written record from top to bottom and will undoubtedly be one that stays in your late summer rotation.