Matt Schofield “Far As I Can See” – track by track

Matt Schofield takes us through his new release “Far As I Can See” track by track.

Matt Schofield 2013-3 credit Sam Hare
photo by Sam Hare

‘From Far Away’


This is a song that has been brewing for several years. I had the verse, chorus, and bridge/solo section when I took it to the band, but it wasn’t a fully realized song. Jordan and Simon helped flesh it out musically and melodically, until we arrived at what has become one of my favourite original songs. We knew pretty early on that this was going to kick off the album, as it definitely takes aspects what I’ve done before, and then kicks it up a level. I’m a big lover of science, humanism and their related philosophies. Lyrically I have known for a long time that I wanted to do something inspired by Carl Sagan’s incredible and inspiring monologue “Pale Blue Dot” – this song is my tribute to his beautiful, stirring words. A little nod to the Allman Brothers and maybe even Santana in the solo sections.


‘Clean Break’

One of the two organ trio tracks on the record, with Jonny playing organ bass. In many ways a classic Matt Schofield Trio shuffle, that none of my records would be complete without! A modern blues story, with a twist, lyrically inspired by how to make a graceful exit, in the interest of both parties!


I’m always trying to find new ways to play the blues, and enjoy playing over odd time signatures, which is something you don’t find much in the genre, new or old.  To make it work, the unusual time, in this case 7/8, has to be especially groovy, with just the right feel.  The end result makes for uniquely tense solo sections where the lines played on guitar have to weave around the time. Lyrically, the inspiration came from the desire to create intimacy with the audience, by inviting them to share in the moment with the music – the same way the musicians must be in order to play it – something that, in these days of an audience filled with camera phones, seems harder to achieve.

‘Breaking Up Somebody’s Home’

When I make an album I always go back to a long list of songs I love. I’ve been compiling this list over the years, reaching back to my first discovery of blues. I first heard this song by Albert King, one of my biggest heroes. We tried to put our own spin on the groove, and Jordan’s incredible vocal improvisation trades with my guitar solo on the outro.  It also marks the first appearance of a horn section on one of my records.

‘The Day You Left’

It’s become a signature on my albums to have an epic slow blues, always with a music twist. I like to each time to find a way to re-harmonize a traditional 12 bar form. This is one of my favourites. The version that made it on the record is the very first take, recorded totally live, late at night, the first time we played it all the way through! We recorded another take, immediately afterwards, but the tension of the band on the first take, not being exactly sure where we were heading with it, until we got there, created a unique intensity and immediacy that we couldn’t recapture. This is a story of a heart that won’t mend despite conventional wisdom.

‘Oakville Shuffle’

A little instrumental fun, named for the suburb of Toronto where Jordan grew up. The mark of a great blues drummer is his shuffle, and Jordan’s is one of the best. Jonny gets to really cut lose on this one. Our friend Denny Ilett, my favourite U.K. jazz/blues guitarist, stopped by the studio to say hi, so we gave him a guitar and he joined in to put down a killer solo.


What if Albert Collins and Maceo Parker sat in with Tower of Power – that’s the basic musical concept behind this tune. The horn section is back, with James Morton’s funky alto sax weaving through my guitar lines. Fun and funky!


The second of the two organ trio tracks on the record. How do we combine our love of swinging blues and funky grooves – here is the answer. Musically and lyrically, my kind of nod to classic Ray Charles songs like ‘I Got A Woman’. Upbeat, simple, and groovy.

‘Yellow Moon’

I’ve loved this song since I was a kid going through my Dad’s records. Funky New Orleans blues, originally done by the Neville Brothers, and produced by Daniel Lanois, who we’re also a big fan of. I’ve tried to make this great song my own with a unique approach to the arrangement, featuring Jordan’s incredible vocals interplaying with my guitar.

‘Tell Me Some Lies’

Along with the classics like Chuck Berry, I’ve always loved the Texas style of Rock ’n’ Roll – bands like the early Fabulous Thunderbirds. I’ve  never recorded that kind of tune before, so it seemed about time. This has a definite nod to Jimmie Vaughan in there, but somehow Keith Richards showed up in the vibe of it too! Carl brings out his double bass for full authenticity and Jonny lets it rip on the piano.

‘Red Dragon’

As a guitarist, for me this song is the closest I’ve ever got to capturing “it” in the studio – again, first and only take, all live, late at night; the band following my every move. An obvious and loving tribute to the way Hendrix approached a blues, and in that regard, a bit of a departure for me, but something I’ve always wanted to do.