There's nothing like the feel of a favorite old t-shirt paired with a worn-in pair of jeans. Some of the best things in life move into their prime as they age, making them more enjoyable, more valuable. And so it is with the music of Matt Wertz, a handsome Missouri-born soulful rocker who has been splitting time between his home in Nashville and hundreds of stages around the world for the past six years. His latest offering, Everything In Between, displays a patina that prompts an even deeper appreciation of his music than initially seemed possible.
Everything In Between is full of vivid snapshots from every landmark along his two-year journey through love, questions, pain, and healing. "This record stems from relationships and heartbreak, but ultimately I'm grateful for everything that happened, because I learned who I am through the process of making this record," Wertz says. And while the process was born out of a difficult journey, the result is an eclectic and energetic album, delivered smoothly and with confidence. As a whole, Everything is seamless and cohesive, but each song varies in color enough to make it unique from the others, beautiful in its own way.
The songs on Everything possess that familiar, worn-in feel, which makes them easy to fall in love with at first listen. From the effortless groove of the opening guitar riff on "The Way I Feel" to the addictive hooks of "Heartbreaker" and "Like the Last Time," the entire album is road-trip worthy, changing gears and sliding into place with the easy flow his fans have come to expect. Honesty is another thing he has always worked hard to present, and he pulls back the curtain even further on "I Will Not Take My Love Away," revealing a wisdom that belies his 27 years. "More than any other song on my album, that song is truth," he says. "It's about unconditional love, a love that is bigger than any of us. We all know it's out there, but we keep looking for it in the wrong places. It's a song I need to listen to and receive from every day."
Wertz is proficient at turning life's lessons into a beautiful soundtrack, but he has a natural way of moving through those serious moments to a place where he can relax in the simplicity of life. He loves to laugh, and he has a guy-next-door charm coupled with movie star charisma that draws people to him. Chances are, if there is a group of people, and there is a sound system, then a Michael Jackson album will be playing, and Wertz will be in the middle of the room, on the floor, dancing. It's no surprise that many of his friends wanted to accompany him in making Everything. They gathered around him for the recording process, headed by producer Ed Cash, who worked with him on his second album 23 Places (2003), and the Today & Tomorrow EP (2005). The result is his best album to date, one that will undeniably find a place at the top of the playlists of his ever-increasing fan base, which has largely grown by word of mouth.
When artists reach the level of success that Wertz has, they often use that platform to garner a record deal with a major label. But as his career has grown, so has his confidence in the independent machine that fuels it. "I love being independent," Wertz says. "If I succeed or fail, it's not based upon someone else's decisions, but my own. I like the freedom and ownership that comes from keeping things small and in-house." It's clear that Wertz, just like his latest album, has realized the potential that comes with the benefit of time and will catch the attention of everyone who comes within earshot of his music.