Listen to “Ola Volo”
“I think if a song has meaning and is played with heart it can be done in a million different styles, tempos, time signatures, and colours.” – Matt Mays
A year after the release of Once Upon a Hell of a Time…, Matt Mays returns with its acoustic companion piece, Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… The full re-imagining of the rock record is available via Sonic Records & Warner Music Canada on October 19, 2018.
The album’s lead single, “Ola Volo,” premiered this morning via CBC’s q, and is now available to stream on digital platforms around the world. The song, which swaps blistering guitars for breezy ukuleles and Hawaiian-inspired pedal steel in its newest formation, is inspired by a Vancouver-based mural artist of the same name who also created the original album art for both records.
Much like “Ola Volo,” all the tracks on Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… are presented in stark, stripped-down contrast to its predecessors. “Once Upon a Hell of a Time… is a Saturday night record,” says Matt. “This version is for the hangover on Sunday.”
Recontextualizing the songs offers a new window into the lyrics. What he once described as a “party-rock record for the brokenhearted” transforms into a reflective and beautiful dive into false escapism, grief, love, and loss.
Sonic Records/Warner Music Canada
01. Trust Life
02. Sentimental Sins
03. Faint Of Heart
04. Drive On
05. Howl At The Night
06. NYC Girls
07. Dark Promises
08. Perfectly Wasted
09. Drunken Angels
10. Ola Volo
11. 78s 33s 45s
12. Station Out Of Range
13. Never Say Never
The recording sessions for Twice Upon a Hell of a Time… came amidst a particularly busy time for Matt Mays. During a period in which he headlined his first Massey Hall concert and supported sold-out shows with The Gaslight Anthem all over North America, Matt teamed up with co-producer Eric Ratz to record at studios around Toronto between touring commitments.
The acoustic companion piece was originally conceived as a straight-up solo interpretation, similar to the iTunes Session recorded with Ratz in 2011. As the songs took shape, however, Matt decided to incorporate extra vocals and instrumentation. Tapping musicians Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano, Lee Harvey Osmond) on pedal steel, Anthony Carone (Arkells) on piano, and guest singers Andrew Rodriguez, Kate Dyke, and Melissa Payne, the album’s arrangements are lush and large without straying from the ‘unplugged’ vibe he sought from the outset.
Never slowing down, Matt Mays continues to tour relentlessly with his band throughout the fall. He embarks on a second US tour in September, book-ended by festival shows in Vancouver, BC and St. John’s, NL leading up to the release of this new album, and will be featured on NPR’s World Cafe this Tuesday, September 04 at 2:00pm ET.
Photo credit: Devin McLean