The X Factor has a lot to answer for and I’m not just talking about Cheryl Cole or the two-headed monster known as Jedward. It’s what they did to the Leonard Cohen-penned tune Hallelujah, made famous by Jeff Buckley’s wonderful, heartfelt rendition, that really rankles. By the time the TV show’s bloodless version, delivered by Alexandra Burke, made Christmas number one in 2008, it had taken on all the mystique of a dead horse being flogged to death.
What’s this got to do with Scott Matthews, I hear you ask? Well, ever since Matthews arrived on the scene in 2006, he’s been touted as the next Buckley. Once upon a time that would have been considered a good thing. These days, discerning music lovers let out a groan of derision. Buckley’s legacy has been co-opted by a reality TV show, dammit, and that probably hasn’t helped the Wolverhampton singer-songwriter.
Matthews’ first two albums, Passing Stranger and Elsewhere, didn’t exactly set the charts on fire, but one of his early singles, Elusive, saw him beat the Arctic Monkeys to win the much-coveted Ivor Novello Award, and he’s been a critics’ favourite ever since. In truth, his lush folk sound owes as much to that other tragic troubadour, Nick Drake, as it does to Buckley – and he’s been known for the odd psychedelic wig out, too. With the release of third album What The Night Delivers, Matthews seems destined to maintain his best-kept secret status for now. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing until Buckley comes back into fashion.
Sep 26-27, doors 7pm. From £15
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