After the diversity of his debut album, Mat Kearney took a more focused approach on the sound of his new disc, City of Black & White, which hit stores last Tuesday."The last record was more idealistic, and this one has to do with my own personal journey," Kearney told Alternative Addiction in a recent interview. "It's a much more one on one feeling. I really wanted to explore being concise and a little more focused."
Kearney said in some ways the diversity of his debut album was a bit overwhelming, so the decision to focus on one type of sound for the new album seemed like the right approach.
"The last record I was really exploring, even to the point of being psychotherapeutic at times," Kearney explained. "This record I wanted to focus a little more on a classic structure, sort of went after this 'more with less' theme on the record. I wanted it to be big, sort of epic sounding. I was listening to a lot of old U2, and Springsteen and some of these grand sounding records."
With Kearney's focus on an epic sound, he decided to forgo putting any songs on the album that feature spoken word, one of the unique styles on his debut that attracted a lot of new fans to his sound."On this record, there really isn't a spoken word element, [although] there is still a rhythmic element," said Kearney. "When writing, sometimes the songs just kind of come at you. I had songs that were going down that [spoken word] direction but I just didn't like them the best that way."
Ultimately, Kearney says the style of his music depends on the emotions that he is feeling when he writes new songs."You kind of go for what you are in during that moment," said Kearney. "There are times when I want to sit down at the piano and cry my eyes out and there are times when I want to punch someone in the face with a song. It's kind of a broad range of emotions, and I feel like that's life."
Mat Kearney is gearing up to tour the Southeast and Midwest in June and July. City of Black & White is in stores now.