Matt and Kerryn may now be residents of Melbourne in Victoria, but they both grew up in Aoteaora, Matt on South Island and Kerryn on the North. They are both well-known in their new home, with Matt’s ‘Between Tonight and Tomorrow’ winning Music Victoria’s Best Country Album 2023, while Kerryn’s ‘Water’ won Music Victoria’s Best Folk Album 2022. Here they have combined their songwriting skills in an album which is alt country with some folk influences, even covering some NZ royalty in Sir Dave Dobbyn’s “It Dawned on Me” (how can that song be 30 years old now?). They have brought in a host of musicians to help them achieve their dreams, with Matt’s Dead Leaves bandmate Andy Pollock very much at the heart of things, and it was this trio which I saw performing together to promote the album last year.

This album was only released at the beginning of May, but songs from it have been winning awards and recognition over the last year, yet while I enjoyed it, I found myself comparing Kerryn’s vocals to Katya Horrop with whom Matt often performs as part of Dead Leaves, and I must confess I much prefer Katya’s. That may be due to the genre, as I do not know Kerryn’s own music, only what she has performed with Matt, but to my ears their voices do not always blend well together. She has a vocal style of her own, and I am sure that comes across better when not being placed with such a strong male performer as Matt. Given the huge kudos this album has received I am sure I am very much in the minority, and there are plenty of people out there calling this a masterpiece, but while there are some absolute classics on here such as “Heart of Gold”, where Kerryn’s vocals work very well indeed, there are plenty of others where they do not. Given the amount of publicity this album has been gaining I only hope it helps break them through into a much wider audience, but only time will tell if this project has longevity or if they decide to work in future as solo artists. For fans of alt country. 7/10 Kev Rowland