Mat Kearney just seems to know what he's doing. As my life becomes exponentially busier by the second, I find it hard to sit down and listen to a full album for sheer appreciation purposes. I get new albums for reviews, but I never seem to always listen to the whole album, and if I do, it is in numerous listening sessions where I can't keep my mind on anything. Fortunately, the nice people over at Columbia Records sent us a copy of Mat Kearney's City of Black & White, and I immediately bumped it in my car. I was able to listen to the whole CD more than one time through, and all in one session. As I expected, Mat did a phenomenal job. He put together an experience, weighting all songs equally, and devoting his heart and soul to every track. The album was golden.

As I was going through the tracks to select my favorites, I found it extremely difficult to pick a few out because they were all really good. Usually artists invest all of their energy into one or two songs, but with Mat, he makes sure to keep himself in check. My favorite track on the album had to be "Annie", followed by "Fire and Rain", "Closer to Love", "Lifeline", "New York to California", in no particular order (actually in numerical order as they appear on the album).

Mat is special because he's an acoustic artist. His music is soft, his voice soothing, and lyrics powerful. It seems as if he transitioned more from his rapping and upbeat days, into a calmer state of euphoria, but his message is not lost. The first time I heard about Mat Kearney was when I saw him open up for John Mayer and Cheryl Crowe a few years ago at Jones Beach. He was hot, new, fresh, and the man. My friends saw him Wednesday night, opening for Keane, and remarked that he was real, down to earth, but more chill. They said he just sounded exactly like he does on his albums. While I enjoy his style, I feel like this album was a little too chill compared to his last album, and he's beginning to fade away as he drops the hip hop funk. It would be terrible to lose Mat at the expense of his awesome music, but it seems like people these days are pushing for Kanye, Shopping Cart Drizzy Drake, Lady Gaga, etc. Don't get me wrong, I grew up on Classic Rock, and alternative rock like Guster and Dispatch, and Mat appeals to me. But to the masses...I don't know what he can do. We need to push him over the edge, and I don't know if he can do that with a soft album like this one.

That being said however, I rate this album a solid A for the overall experience that the album provides. Every track has its own special meaning, and every track has a purpose. I hope that Mat experiences success with this release, and that we see him grow into the future. Man, I love Keane, but what if he opened for Coldplay...what if?

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