Fort Worth singer-songwriter Matthew McNeal has called his new album, Compadre, “a collection of songs for the over-thinkers, the people that get in their own heads.” These songs are introspective and often achingly beautiful — If great country music has taught us anything, it’s that life can be lonesome. But McNeal’s not one to mope about. The 22-year-old seems to recognize that music can be just the thing for a bad case of heartache.
The 10 songs on Compadre include rollicking barn-burners and thoughtful ballads. Sometimes you get both in the course of three minutes. Even at their most plaintive, these songs are bursting with energy. “Alonely,” the feisty opener, sets the tone for what’s to come: McNeal’s heart may be a “ghost town,” but by the end of the song he’s defiantly upbeat and back on the road doing what he does best. And what he does best is classic roots-rock. McNeal’s charged Americana hits with the full force of a modern rock band, but with the cowboy lyricism and sensibility of the best old-fashioned country music.
McNeal recorded Compadre last year at Denton’s Redwood Studios with McKenzie Smith and Joey McClellan of Midlake.
It’s a great album, and we’re happy to premiere it here. You can listen below ahead of its official release later this month. McNeal will perform Saturday at the Underpass with Bad Mountain and Wesley Geiger.