19 Jun 2024

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Matt Hay - Album Review: Dog and Pony Show

02 Apr 2024 // A review by Kerry MB

Matt Hay may not be a name you’re familiar with yet.

Well, better late than never.

Wellington may have long claimed him, but his dubbed ‘Kiwimericana’ sound is something that should exceed the far reaches of our tiny nation.

His unique cross pollination of country, blues and roots is honest, devoid of any imitation and this is his new album, Dog and Pony Show.

It’s been a few years since Matt’s last release, 2017’s Something Blue, but the absence hasn’t quelled his craft, with Dog and Pony Show delivering a rich and full catalogue of eight new tracks that will leave you with a smile on your face, and maybe tug on your heartstrings too.

Produced by another fellow Wellingtonian and accomplished musician, Darren Watson, it’s not surprising to learn Dog and Pony Show was also recorded (largely live) at Darren’s home lounge. It’s a match made to be with Darren adding his own touch on tracks with slide guitar.

Adding to such talent on Dog and Pony Show is Steve Moodie on double bass, Craig Denham on accordion, and Delia Shanly on drums and percussion, respectively. A great accompaniment. 

Self-titled track Dog and Pony Show is first up. The rhythm is an instant toe- tapping experience, the melody simple yet refined and one of the many tracks that will leave you with a smile.

I’d normally like to leave some breathing room in between tracks, but, I have to mention what follows. Second track in, Two Words has the kind of acoustic hold that makes you stop. A simple and sweet melody, gentle and highly emotive. It reminds me of JJ Grey and Mofro’s 2007 track, Sun is Shining. It's stunning.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that all eight tracks on Dog and Pony Show have superb lyricism and great arrangement, and really shows the care, thought and hard work that Matt continues to put into his craft.

Dog and Pony Show is a solid and honest piece of work that no doubt translates seamlessly live. 


About Matt Hay

Matt Hay is a New Zealand based singer-songwriter whose quietly astute songs, and unique blend of country, blues and roots rock, often draw comparison to the likes of John Hiatt and JJ Cale.

Hay first appeared on the New Zealand blues and roots scene in the early '90s as harmonica player in blues wunderkinds Cool Disposition. He was also a member of roots rock outfit Surge, whose album Then Again received critical acclaim, and has featured as a side man for New Zealand blues legends Darren Watson, Dave Murphy and Marg Layton.

Hay began performing as a solo artist in 2006 and has three releases to his name - Inside Stories released in 2007, Where Do We Go From Here? released in 2012 and now his brand new album Something Blue released Oct 2017

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Matt Hay


Dog and Pony Show
Year: 2024
Type: Album
Something Blue
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Where Do We Go From Here?
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Inside Stories
Year: 2007
Type: Album

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