Katelyn Law – Raised Rowdy Contributor
Center Ridge, Arkansas native Matt Stell had a unique start to country music. As a 6’7 collegiate basketball star, Matt started his musical journey playing local bars after basketball practice while teaching himself how to sing and play guitar in college. He then began making waves with artists like Casey Donahew, tapping into the red dirt music scene before making the move to Nashville in 2014.
After years chasing what seemed like a dream that would never come to fruition, Matt Stell went on a medical mission trip that changed his life and caused him to apply for no other than Harvard’s pre-med program and was accepted! However, the pull of music was too strong to combat and right when Matt was forced to choose his path, he was offered a publishing deal and knew what he had to do and made the decision that would pay off with the release of his latest project.
Matt recently wowed the country music community with his soulful and poetic “Prayed For You” that displays the deep and profound lyrics that proclaim a love ordained from the Man above. Recently, Matt Stell followed up this stellar single with a seven song EP project titled Everywhere But On.
The first song on the project, “Last Habit” is a song that describes someone who has given up all of their wild nights and whiskey and the only thing that the person is hooked on is the love from their significant other. The lyrics paint vivid imagery that describes just how hung up on that “last habit” the person really is.
Listeners are greeted next by the catchy opening riff of “Better I Drink.” This song is the polar opposite of opening track “Last Habit.” Instead of giving up that feel good liquid for a lover, “Better I Drink” tells a different story of how sometimes you just need a drink to drown the pain of a love gone wrong. The hook, “the more I feel, the better I drink” resonates with anyone who has a memory they need to drown.
The title track of the project, “Everywhere But On” is my personal favorite on the record. The song tells the story of a love in a small town ending and how the protagonist travels from “Savannah to Long Beach” to try to find a place where the memory doesn’t linger. Ultimately, Matt sings “Guess there’s just one place I haven’t gone. I’ve moved everywhere but on” letting the song end punching you in the heart.
“Home in a Hometown” is a nostalgic ode to small town life that features fellow country music newcomer Jimmie Allen. If you were raised in a small town then you know the authenticity rings true. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than your hometown.
Picture this. You’re in a dimly lit dive bar and you’re just hitting it off with someone that you could see a future with. And the only thing the night is missing is just a little extra fuel to the fire to take things to the next level. “I Bet Whiskey Would” paints this exact scene and says that whiskey could be that very thing that could push things over the edge and help you fall in love.
The final song on the EP, “Reason Why”, describes being down on your luck, completely given up on love, until someone walks in and gives a “reason why” you should let your heart have one more chance. Isn’t a beautiful thing when someone does give you that reason why you need to love again?
Everywhere But On is one of my favorite releases in 2019 so far. The depth, lyrics, and melodies all combine together to create the perfect storm and I have it blasting through my speakers constantly. So give it a listen and let us know what you think!