Many years ago, singer Iain Matthews agreed to be interviewed for the Hokey Pokey newsletter. With great kindness he answered all the questions from the cub reporter, effecting not to be disappointed by the reporter’s repetition of the same old questions. Hokey Pokey eventually led, in a round about fashion, to the Fledg’ling label. You can imagine how proud we are to be releasing Mr Matthews’ latest recording. In Iain’s opinion it is the best record of his career. Artiste’s often say that, but in the case of Joy Mining he may well be right.
Iain Matthew’s career has been a long and illustrious one, journeying from Pyramid, through Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort and Plainsong to a remarkable series of poetic solo albums. On paper, his collaboration with the Searing Quartet is a strange pairing. Egbert Derix is an established jazz composer, from the Netherlands and Iain Matthews’ roots, have taken hold in contemporary singer/songwriter circles. However, if we break down these borders, look deeper and think in terms of quality, rather than genres, it’s a musical marriage made in heaven. The pair first came together in 2003, touring with a live version of Matthew’s legendary 1970 solo album “If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes”. Plans were made at the time to forge a writing partnership, only for it to be capsized by other career commitments. But not before they had two new songs in the bag and the realization that an ease and understanding of the writing process existed between them.
Fast forward five years, when Matthews extended an invitation to Derix and the Searing Quartet, to appear in his performance series, “Common Grounds” Part of the concept for the series is that the host plays two songs with his guests. Egbert suggested doing two older Matthews compositions and the result was quite astounding. It appeared to all in attendance that the two songs had been performed by this lineup many times; “I had shivers running up and down my spine” say’s Matthews, “It was almost a life changing experience. I knew then that something magical was in the air.”
Within weeks the pair were writing together again and this time the result was breathtaking. Derix’s finely honed sense of melody and feel and Matthews carefully crafted lyrics, created something very precise and special. The ensemble completed a recording of 12 new compositions and the album Joy Mining was self released in Holland late last year to the highest critical acclaim.