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At Home with The House of Songs: Ida Wenøe & Matt The Electrician

Today, At Home with The House of Songs features Matt The Electrician and Ida Wenøe performing "live" from Green Note.

Matt has cowritten with numerous guest artists over the years, has participated in our projects in Denmark and in the US. He is the former Austin House Manager, and remains a great friend to THOS. Ida Wenøe has also been involved with THOS for many years. She has not only been an artist in residence at the Austin house, but was also a part of the songwriting camp at an Alchemist castle in Denmark, the first Songwriter Summit in Austin, and a Summit at our Ozarks house.

They will both be doing a live stream concert for London’s premiere listening room, The Green Note, at 2pm CDT today:

Despite the name, Matt the Electrician is no longer an electrician, focusing instead on a music career that has spanned the course of two decades, a dozen records, and  thousands of shows. His music, however, remains rooted in his blue collar beginnings, with lyricism that embraces the day-to-day, the mundane, the beauty of the ordinary. 

Before moving to Austin, TX and launching his career as a working-class folk musician, Matt Sever grew up on the West Coast.  His parents played John Denver and Pete Seeger songs on the family record player, and Matt spent his earliest years surrounded by the things that would later fill his own music: acoustic guitars, timeless melodies, lyrics that celebrated the joys and heartaches of everyday life, and — above all else — a strong work ethic. 

That work ethic served him well in the mid-1990s, when he moved to Austin in search of new horizons and better opportunities. Matt was already playing music by then, and in need of a steady day job, he began working as an electrician, spending his days wiring houses in the Texas heat.  Once quitting time came, he'd grab his guitar and drive himself to an evening show, usually taking the stage in his work boots and sweaty clothes. "Hi; I'm Matt the Electrician," he'd tell the crowd, hoping his occupation would help explain his appearance. The name stuck, even after his growing fan base at home, as well as abroad, allowed him to hang up his pliers for good. 

Matt’s most recent release, a double CD called The Doubles, is the culmination of a 2-year vinyl 45 collaborative project.

“Bewitching acid folk with a deeply personal edge”– Clash Magazine

Amongst a digital mountain range littered with accomplished folk-ish bands and singersongwriters, it is a rare miracle to come across a cave so rich in jewels as the one beneath Ida Wenøe’s ribcage. While she has an obvious appreciation of Americana, her sound is very definitely laced with more English undertones: the kind of sound Edward Woodward might have heard downstairs in the local inn had the Wicker Man been filmed in a remote Danish village, while Sarah Lund scoured for clues in her jumper. Like the best of the Nordic Noir leaving the Danish mainland, the recordings are at once both sonically pure and grimy; there’s a shared loneliness that makes you feel that you’re not at all; and all the while there is an honesty to the songwriting that tugs at your sleeve. While her grasp of English is second nature, there’s some of those intriguing turns of phrase that only a heart that dreams in another language can weave:

“The deep conceals things that are real/ look beyond the mirror/look beyond the mirror” ,“I know we see things differently/as long as it’s not separately” and “You’re a fish in a bottle/a cock in a coop/the essence of trying…”

Sure, she has the usual credible influences from Vashti to Joni, from Neil Young to Danish folk hero Sebastian; and there’s hints of Sandy Denny and Linda Perhacs. But to list artists she sounds like would be to miss the point entirely. As anyone who has witnessed a live show can attest, Ida Wenøe is very definitely Ida Wenøe. As Carsten Holm at Danish Radio P6 Beat put it, “she has an icy, almost Icelandic timbre. I haven’t heard this in any other Danish artist… an incredibly strong vocal…” God Is In The TV Zine went on to say her voice “boasts angelic notes which can often leak her endearing Danish roots…”

Wenøe´s debut album “Time of Ghosts” was released in The Nordic Countries in 2015 through Songcrafter Music, and created lot of attention. The following year Ida played showcases and concerts in Denmark, Sweden, USA, England, Germany, Switzerland, The Faroe Islands and Poland. She was nominated for a Danish Music Award as “Folk Songwriter of the Year”, and her music was used in DR (National TV) documentary “De Smukke Piger”. A showcase concert at Tonder Festival lead to a collaboration with UK booking agency BlueHouse Music, who set up a successful trio tour with Ida and her band The Silver Cords in the UK in 2016. In 2017 “Time of Ghosts” was released in the UK through Shellshock Distribution / The Orchard to wonderful reviews and was followed up by two live tours in April and November 2017. A showcase at SPOT Festival in Denmark in May 2017 lead to a new collaboration with German label DanCan Music and German booking agency Devil Duck Booking. “Time of Ghosts” was released in GSA in February 2018 and Ida toured in Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Pakistan during the spring. The fall of 2018 was spent recording the new album “The Things We Don´t Know Yet” with producer Esben Svane, and it was released on April 12th 2019 in a collaboration between Songcrafter Music (the Nordics) and Integrity Records (rest of the world). The album got some fabulous reviews especially in the UK, and Wenøe played shows and festivals in UK, Austria and Denmark during the summer and fall of 2019. A number of new collaborators have been added to the team surrounding Ida Wenøe over the last year. On the booking side APL Booking has taken over the booking in Central Europe + UK and Out On the Rise has taken over booking for the Nordics except Denmark. Austrian based ROLA Music is a the new PR partner for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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