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JFH Staff Review

Mat Kearney
The Chicago EP

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 5 tracks: 21 minutes, 25 seconds
Street Date: 2005

In the Fall of 2004, Eugene, Oregon native Mat Kearney snuck on the scene modestly with his incredible debut Bullet on Inpop Records. Mixing acoustic guitars with thick beats, hip hop vocals and melodies that would make a Cold Play fan's ears perk up, Kearney was working with a unique musical formula that few had explored before him. Although Bullet was a critical success, his music has taken a little longer to sink in with the public. Columbia and Aware Records noticed Mat's potential and signed him up shortly after Bullet hit Christian bookstore shelves. In late 2005, Aware released The Chicago EP to give listeners a tease of what to expect from his Spring 2006 album, Nothing Left To Lose.

Kearney fans already familiar with his work from Bullet will be pleased to know that The Chicago EP follows the classic EP format. Chicago picks up beautifully where Bullet left off, introducing two brand new songs as well as a song lifted directly from the debut ("Undeniable") and two new exclusive acoustic renditions. The Chicago EP opens with "Nothing Left To Lose," the first of two studio songs, and easily a highlight among the handful of tracks present. As the title track of his new release, "Nothing Left To Lose" follows in a similar fashion to what Bullet had to offer, only with less of a hip hop flavor. "Chicago," the second of the two new tracks, is presented completely in raw acoustic form and serves as another highlight on the disc. The three stripped-down acoustic tracks lack the studio production polish but clearly don't need it. Those who have seen Kearney live know it's just Mat and his guitar or piano throughout the duration of his set. And if you've seen him live within the past year, there's a good chance you heard these new songs before. Finally, in acoustic form, the Bullet originals "Girl America" and "Middle" sound great in the more intimate presentation and are a real nice bonus for the EP.

If The Chicago EP is any hint of what Kearney has to offer on Nothing Left To Lose, then there will be a lot to look forward to when it streets this year. In the meantime, find yourself a copy of The Chicago EP - it's the best EP to come along in some time.

- Review date: 1/24/06, written by John DiBiase

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. Artist Info: Discography
. Record Label: Aware / Columbia / InPop Records
. Album length: 5 tracks, 21 minutes and 25 seconds
. Street Date: 2005

  1. Nothing Left To Lose
  2. Undeniable
  3. Chicago (acoustic)
  4. Girl America (acoustic)
  5. Middle (acoustic)
spacer Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics
Click For Audio Sample   Click For Song Lyrics



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