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      Rasky Sadagr Reviews

              Matt Nakoa

Matt Nakoa is an accomplished classical pianist, award-winning songwriter and singer. Born on a small goat farm in New York State, Nakoa trained to be a concert pianist before winning a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied alongside soon-to-be Grammy winners St. Vincent and Esperanza Spaulding among others. During this time he was selected to collaborate with Grammy winner Kathy Mattea during her residence at Berklee College and another Grammy winner: the jazz composer and Rolling Stones touring saxophonist Tim Ries. Additionally, he has recorded with producer George Massenburg, and Elliot Scheiner who has produced and engineered a range of artists, including Foo Fighters, Sting, Paul Simon Fleetwood Mac and Queen to just name a few.

Since his graduation he performed alongside folk legends like Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, and Ellis Paul, and won the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition. Currently NAKOA is joining the legendary folk icon Tom Rush on a tour thought american theatres.


Matt NAKOAS first solo “Light In The Dark”, released in 2012, was an eclectic pop/rock piece, while the second studio album, A DOZEN OTHER LOVES (2014) explored a mainly acoustic palette.

“Sleepwalking away” a song on NAKOAS third and lates album CASTING SHADOWS is a melodic, playful acoustic guitar driven song that slowly builds into a lush pop/rock-sound landscape. What I like about this song is, that just the guitar and his voice would actually be enough to carry out the whole melody, and that with further instruments, this piece is so well rounded that there is not really anything negative to say about it.

His voice is simply brilliant. Sometimes strong, sometimes pearly, rounding up the guitar in an unlike duet, that works together beautifully.

Sleepwalking away is a well written, well preformed, masterfully produced song, that gets underneath your skin and makes you want to dance and sing to it.

What surprised me while I researched his music, is that NAKOAs is often listed as Folk musician, but I wouldn't classify it as that. At least not JUST as that. His oeuvre is a rich blend of Rock, Pop, even RnB and Folk, so intimate and genuine that it would be just too easy trying to put him into a  niche.. because he would most likely just break out of it.

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