Mat Kearney: Nothing Left to Lose 

Listing to Mat Kearney, you're likely to think, "this sounds familiar." I know the feeling; I had the same thought when I put Nothing Left to Lose into my CD player. You may have heard the title song, which rose up both the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as the ranks of iTunes frequent downloads. You may have heard his music as background on TV shows like Grey's Anatomy or Without a Trace. Or, it just may be that his music sounds so much like many of today's other pop vocalists.

Nothing Left to Lose opens with "Undeniable." This song's chorus includes the lines, "It's undeniable how brilliant you are/In an unreliable world you shine like a star/It's unforgettable now that we've come this far/It's unmistakable that you're undeniable." This melodic pop-tinged chorus is juxtaposed with verses rooted in hip-hop. "In the Middle" has a soaring chorus that has you humming along ... just like you're heard it before. "Bullet" is another song you'll swear you've heard.

Kearney appears to be a classic new age songwriter that also sings, plays guitar, harmonica, and piano. As he sings in the CD's title track, he's just "a kid from Oregon by way of California." Being an "Oregon kid" who "did time" in California myself before arriving in Boise, I feel some kinship. Maybe that's why Nothing Left to Lose sounds vaguely familiar. Like mom's home cooking at Thanksgiving, familiar doesn't mean bad.

--Curt Nichols

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