The debut of jazz guitarist, songwriter and arranger Matthew E. White was released in 2012 on Hometapes and is now being made available in Germany through Domino. Its quality is so very impressive that when listening to it for the first time, you’ll let out a big sigh of Halleluja – because the compact piece of work (containing only seven tracks) is truly a revelation of biblical dimensions. Within 42 minutes, it combines the very best of folk, gospel, jazz and soul: real emotions, profound lyrics, great tension and impressive compositions of suspense and melodies in addition to a virtuosic mastery of the instruments, which never occurs for its own sake and always in the ideal places. Furthermore, you’ll find diverse arrangements, complementing the songs with the help of strings, brass and choirs to form a dynamic and multifaceted whole, instead of trying to patch up weaknesses in the songwriting or drown the pieces in pure pathos. The lyrics make personal experiences (such as the death of White’s cousin in »Gone Away«) become universal images and powerful metaphors, so that you’ll often find the ultimate question of the meaning of all human existence resonating within them. Additionally to all this, White’s gentle lectures are never patronizing, but much more like the sermons of a humble travelling preacher. This becomes particularly clear in the final track, »Brazos«, where you’ll hear a mantra-like repetition of »Jesus Christ is your friend«. Amen.