Austin, Texas, folk artist Matt the Electrician sports a mighty fine full beard. A possible allegory for his style of music, his beard is inviting and warm while his voice sounds weathered and prickly. “You know, sadly, I’m just lazy,” he says. “The beard is much easier to manage than no beard because I don’t really have to do anything to it. Like once every three months I take some scissors and cut it back a little bit so it doesn’t take over any nearby villages.”
Born Matt Sever and raised in Ashland (his mother worked at a costume shop during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Sever worked as a journeyman electrician while playing open mic nights before becoming a professional musician. His simple yet engaging folk songs sit well next to Ryan Bingham with his gravelly whisper, and his blue-collar songwriting recalls that of the Texan folk granddaddy, Townes Van Zandt.
A proud and loving father, many of Matt the Electrician’s songs are inspired by his two kids, and his recent Kickstarter video was produced by his whole family. His latest record, It’s a Beacon, It’s a Bell, was released last month, and it continues down his thoughtful, fuzzy path. To get really intimate with the musician, however, you have to see him live.
“I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I don’t have a lot of filters when I’m on stage. Nor do I really plan ahead very well. So I kinda get up there and see what happens, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a long, long time,” he says with a chuckle. “And I think, you know, a good 70 percent of the time it works out really well.”
Matt the Electrician plays with Marty Chilla 8:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 26, at Cozmic; $8 adv., $10 door.