Alt-Country / Americana / Australia / Country / Interviews / New Zealand / Six Strings


Matt Joe Gow has a brand new album out tomorrow (Fri, March 10th) and between his just completed Aotearoa/NZ tour and the start of a new run of dates in Australia, Matt kindly took the time to answer our Six Strings Q&A.

The new album, Between Tonight & Tomorrow is a superb collection of Americana and alt-country songs. We’ve got a review of it coming soon, where we describe it as… “an album that breathes, sighs and exalts with passion and compassion, diving deep into matters of life & death, and navigating the rough terrain of the heart and soul.” It’s his finest record to date and will appeal to fans of acts such as Jeff Tweedy, Grant Lee Phillips and The Black Crowes.

Read on to find out which musician Matt would love to sit-in with, his favourite Americana album of the last year and whether he prefers the stage or the studio.

What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of Americana music?

Dylan’s Nashville Skyline was in my Mother’s vinyl collection. ‘Girl From The North Country’ in particular really resonated with me. The two distinct voices, the ragged approach, the setting of snow and rivers freezing. I often come back to it.

Describe your latest release…

After my Break Rattle And Roll album and tour wrapped up, I think somewhat naturally I wanted to take a sonic departure from that album’s layered and sprawling sound and create an album that was more stripped back in terms of instrumentation and unvarnished in terms of production. Just to really focus on the directness and vulnerability that was appearing in the album’s lyrical themes. Stories of loss, redemption and rebirth are threads that runs through the album and are highlighted on tracks like ‘’Til My Whole Heart Bursts’, ‘Closing In’ andWe Are Born’. 

What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve played and why?

Tough question! I played the Out On The Weekend festival after lockdown and it was such a celebration of music with many of my close friends in the line up. The feeling of community and solidarity was a really beautiful thing, we tried to channel that love into the set, a special day.

How did you learn to play your instrument?

I started on piano at five, Mama put me into lessons which started my musical journey. Next came drums at about 12 which I love and are my fave instrument to play to this day. Then guitar, singing and harmonica at about 13. I Started a band, in Dunedin, which at the time was really supportive of young bands thanks to the Flying Nun groups having left behind such a vibrant culture for live music.

(photo by Jo Forster)

Do you have a preference – recording in the studio or performing on stage?

Whilst both are close to my heart, my preference is the studio. For me, the studio is  an extension of songwriting, you’re continuing to craft and mould the song in a space with all the colours you could want to paint with. Plus you’re with your friends, and the sound is often impeccable. When you nail a great take, and you head in to the control room with the band to hear it back through the studio speakers for the first time, that is just about the best feeling in the world.

What do you consider the finest song you’ve written and why?

I’m really proud of ‘Closing In’from my new album. I wanted to capture the start, middle and end of a couple’s life together. The trials, tribulations, forgiveness and loss. The last song on each of my albums is always deeply personal and introspective, this one was no different in that respect.

If you could sit-in with one other musician (living or dead) who would it be? 

I’d sit-in with John Lennon, I’d rather him not dead at the time though 😉

Do you feel there is a strong folk/country music community in Australia/NZ and if so, what does it need to keep growing?

I think it is definitely growing and I am happy to be a part of that community which I love and cherish. I think to maintain this trajectory it would help for more mainstream or larger festivals to embrace Americana music. Some do, Riverboats for instance always have a space for it, Tamworth has a real alt scene growing. The more festivals that do this, the more the genre and community will grow. 

What’s been your favourite Americana release over the last year? 

As an album, I enjoyed Freya Josephine Hollick‘s Real World. Stylistically varied, different tempos and textures, moody in places, light and fun in places, and ambitious. The album really captures her personality, we’ve hung out a couple times in the last year, before that we were just ships in the nights at festivals, so itwas nice getting to know her a little, and her work. For a single release, I dug Fleur Wiber‘s ‘Neon Sign’. A foot tapping indie/Americana number, really impressed with her writing on that one, she is one to look out for.

What are your musical plans over the next 12 months?

Touring my new album Between Tonight & Tomorrow through Aus and NZ from March-June and reconnecting with the fans. Also I will be releasing more singles/videos from that, including a remix of the title track, which is in a DJ Shadow vibe – I think that will be really interesting for fans of my music! I am also producing a few new artists, which I love to do, and one of those projects is with my buddy Kerryn Fields who I am currently on tour with in Aotearoa. We have an album coming together and the first single from that will be out in a few months. Lots of music to come! Ka kite!


March 16 – George Lane, St Kilda VIC

March 17/18 – Majors Creek Festival, NSW

March 18 – The Tea Club, Nowra NSW

March 26 – Memo Music Hall, Melbourne VIC *ALBUM LAUNCH

March 31 – Palais-Hepburn, Hepburn Springs VIC

April 1 – Saints & Sailors, Port Arlington VIC

April 2 – Hydrant Food Hall, Ballarat VIC

April 7 – Baroque Room, Katoomba NSW

April 8 – Stag & Hunter, Newcastle NSW

April 9 – HiWay, Enmore NSW

April 15 – Sandy Point Centre, Sandy Point VIC

April 21 – Star Hotel, Yackandandah VIC

April 22 – Mt Beauty Festival, VIC


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