You see it all of the time on social media, especially on Facebook. Some no name from somewhere posts a video of somebody covering an old classic country song, and it goes viral due to how surprisingly astounding the amateur singer is, and how much so many of us miss the old songs that you never hear coming from mainstream country music anymore. The simple fact is that most novice country music singers performing in their living rooms likely sound better and have more talent than whatever is oozing out of corporate radio these days.
This was certainly the case with Matt Maverick when his wife secretly recorded a video of him singing “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, and posted it on Facebook in 2020. Sure enough, it went viral, with this guy from northeast Arkansas only used to singing in Church and at family gatherings all of a sudden gaining legitimate fans, and being encouraged to pursue music as more than just a hobby.
These instances of viral Facebook videos aren’t super rare, but it is rare is when they actually result in something more—meaning the performer takes the viral moment, and piggy backs it into a legitimate pursuit of music. That is what Matt Maverick has done by now releasing his debut album called American Dream that is anything but average, or amateur.
If you’re a true country fan and can appreciate the Tyler Childers and Charles Wesley Godwins of the world that are all the rage at the moment, but really prefer country music that reminds you more of George Strait and Alan Jackson, Matt Maverick will be right down your alley. Country music that is well-sung, well-written, and well-executed, American Dream is everything you want from a country music album.
Instead of cobbling together a few local pickers and renting a budget studio, Matt Maverick decided to go all out for this one. It’s really not rocket science of how to make a great country record. You need the voice and passion of course. But after that, gather together some good songs, head to Nashville where the best pickers in the world reside, and pull out all the stops. The investment is very often worth it, as is evidenced by this album.
Recorded at the Hilltop Studios in Nashville, American Dream features Brent Mason on electric guitar, Bruce Bouton on steel guitar, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle and mandolin, and a bunch of other Nashville ringers bringing Matt Maverick’s vision of revitalizing traditional country to life.
But anyone can hire the right guns to make them sound good. It’s really the songs of American Dream that make it stand out. Very smartly, Matt Maverick took some of the best of his own compositions, and mixed them with contributions from others to fill out a really stellar traditional country track list. That way his personal stamp is on this record (he writes or co-writes four of the songs), but he also proves he got a good ear for a song just like his country heroes, and selects good songs that fit his style, and he can sing the devil out of.
Songs like “Run,” and “Happy Hour (Shouldn’t Be So Sad)” written in part by Jenee Fleenor are great country songs. But Maverick’s originals like “The Grass Ain’t Always Greener” and “What Country Is To Me” slide right in without any issue. Some may find the song selection a little sappy, and the ultra-patriotic “Line In The Sand” may be a little too bellicose or worn out for others. But American Dream really does feels like an album that if it was released 30 years ago, would have launched a big country music career.
Is not that anyone can be selected out of the population and put together something better than today’s pop country. It’s that the effort to scour the countryside and find the next great country music talent just no longer occurs like it used to, which means hidden gems remain out there just looking to be found. But when you take the time to dig and discover one like Matt Maverick, boy is so rewarding.
1 3/4 Guns Up (8/10)
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