I met Mat Kearney once. It was at the very beginning of his career as a recording artist. Bullet had just come out in October of 2004 and I was the brand new music buyer for Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI.
At the time, I was big on listening to Christian music on the radio and I remember hearing “Undeniable” on WaYfm and thinking “I didn’t know that the lead singer of Coldplay did spoken word folk/rap.” Of course, it wasn’t the lead singer of Coldplay. It was Mat Kearney. But he has that same nasal crooning ability.
I used my brand new privilege as music buyer to, ironically, grab a free copy for myself and my girlfriend at the time, DeAnne. She had heard Undeniable on the radio too, and we were both geeked to listen to the album.
A few weeks after that, I was paid a visit by none other than Mat Kearney himself, right in the music department of Baker Book House. He was in town doing a show at Cornerstone College and he stopped in to say hello.
Maybe it was the time of my life or maybe it was just a really good album, but Bullet and Mat Kearney both have a special place in my heart.
His followup albums were good. Bullet was soon put out of print when Kearney was signed to Columbia Records and it seemed like he was going to make it as a mainstream singer, leaving his roots in Christian music behind. And though I liked the mainstream albums, they didn’t hit me the same as Bullet.
Just Kids is a return to everything I loved about Kearney’s first album. His lyrics are heartfelt, clever, and strong. His voice is easy on the ears, whether speaking or singing or whatever that thing he’s doing that’s somewhere between them. I’d like to be more articulate about the album’s high points, but since it lacks the low points, I can’t tell you much. It’s just a great album.