This is a big year in the world of Matt Minglewood. Now 70, as of January, the singer, guitarist and Maritime icon has just released a new album, Fly Like Desperados, his first in 12 years.
Where 2005’s The Story saw him shift gears and go acoustic, “This one’s a Minglewood Band record.”
“As far as I’m concerned this might be the best one,” he said, “best one in years that’s for sure. I’m really happy with it. It came out exactly how I envisioned it, which is not always the case.”
This venture to the studio was the first for the current version of the Minglewood Band, which is comprised of Minglewood, Jeff Stapleton on keyboards, bassist Emily Dingwall, drummer Moon McInnis and his teenaged son Nick on second guitar.
“Everybody’s been exceptional as far as being willing to rehearse and go over these things,” Minglewood said of the recording process.
The guitarist described the final product as “a typical Minglewood album” that shifts from rock to blues, from swampy to soulful but one difference this time around is the vocal harmonies. “The new band has got great vocals,” Minglewood said, “I never really had that before where everybody’s vocal blend is right there.”
Recording started back in September, wrapping in time for a January release, but the project — or at least the songs — started much earlier, although one, ‘Young and Dumb’ was finished shortly before Minglewood stepped to the mic.
“It mentions Donald Trump,” he said, without going into greater detail.
The songs are all Minglewood originals as well, save for a cover of Rodney Crowell’s ‘Closer to Heaven’ which the singer said he “really identified with.”
As for the extended absence from the studio, Minglewood said that’s down to the changing — or at this point, changed — climate of the recording industry.
“To do a record nowadays you pretty much have to do it for yourself. As you may be aware, the music industry doesn’t exist anymore.”
This album, he said, was for himself, the band, and Minglewood fans.
But that’s what’s different. As for what’s more the usual he and the boys (and the girl) went in and recorded mostly live to get that on stage feel, overdubbing as needed.
Another thing that remained the same are the regular contributions from Minglewood’s weathered and well-loved Gibson 335, the guitar he refers to as Big Red. “I don’t fly it out west anymore, I lost it once for a few weeks and it scared the shit out of me,” Minglewood said, but it’s still his most used, go to instrument.
“I’ve never been a collector,” Minglewood explained. “I did a show in New Haven, Connecticut with Joe Perry (of Aerosmith). He had just released his first solo album away from the band. I went in the dressing room we shared, he had 27 guitars lined up on guitar stands and he had eight more on stage. So the 27 that were in the dressing room were never used, but they were out of their cases, on stands sitting there. It seemed a little redundant to me.”
Minglewood, his band, and a conservative collection of guitars will be performing at the deCoste Centre, Pictou, on February 24.