Matt Glickman’s growing reputation as a promising new artist in the jam band scene gains added luster with the release of his album Live from Starks, Maine 10.1.22. This seven-track effort highlights Glickman’s writing and his eye-opening skills as an interpreter of outside material as evidenced by the album’s Grateful Dead cover concluding the collection. Glickman’s carved out a niche for himself playing assorted keyboards such as electric piano, organ, and other synthesizers, never sounding anything less than confident and comfortable no matter where he’s stationed.
You find further evidence of the respect he commands when you look at his collaborators. Glickman has added a lot to the sound of long-since reconstituted English legends The Yardbirds and his organ playing plays a prominent role on their pending album Family Tree II. It is obvious, however, and Glickman has plenty in the tank for his own work and we hear from the first on Live from Starks, Maine 10.1.22.
Glickman goes big from the outset. Piano and vocals carry the nearly ten-minute album opener “Steady as Footprints”. However, it is not just a musical showcase, as Glickman’s penchant for telling imagery and intelligent lyrics plays just as pivotal a role in the song’s success as his work on the keys. His bottomless creativity on piano will dazzle all but the hardest hearts. There is far from an even balance between the words and musical components of this piece, but few will complain.
“Secrets of the Sages” strikes a strong contrast with the opener. It barely clears the three-minute mark while managing to pack more into those one hundred and eighty seconds plus than most musical artists manage in songs twice as long. The song’s title implies at least a degree of obscurity, but the song’s substance is as straightforward as the opener. He is joined for two of the album’s cuts by contributions from guest vocalist Darby Sabin, renowned for her work with longtime Grateful Dead collaborators Tom Constanten and bassist Oteil Burbridge. Her zesty vocals on “Maybe It’s For the Best” provide a memorable contrast with Glickman’s on this jazzy track.
Glickman’s near twenty minute long cover of the Grateful Dead track “Unbroken Chain”, a composition from bassist Phil Lesh, is an unmitigated tour de force. His endless ability to summon one melody after the next saves this track from the obvious threat of self-indulgence. The exploratory nature of this performance never succumbs to chasing its own talent and, instead, reaches improvisational heights that uncover the vast untapped elasticity of this underrated Grateful Dead gem.
Matt Glickman’s Live from Starks, Maine 10.1.22 has many rewards for intrepid listeners. It will sound like manna from heaven for scores of jam band fans and challenges the notion that this sort of music requires guitar for listeners to experience it to the fullest. Glickman’s ascendency as one of the style’s best musicians and songwriters moves forward with these seven tracks and opens the door to an increasingly bright and brilliant future.