A whole new crew of heavy hitters collaborating on O'Neill's cumbia infused vision for this one, including John Medeski, Jesse Murphy, and Manuel Quintana.
Matthew O’Neill is a musical artist and performer based in the Catskill mountains. His musical practice is rooted in Indigenous musical ontologies; ways of knowing and participation through sound. He is committed to restoring the central role of music in maintaining relationship, balance, resilience, innovation and thriving in harmony with Mother Earth and the Cosmos. His songs actively create vital narratives of interrelation. O’Neill’s songwriting acknowledges the interconnectedness of all life and often features poetic allegory centering on non-anthropocentric articulations of gratitude, joy, suffering, celebration, and loss. The result is a dynamic feeling of connection to living systems and a sense of empowered resistance to outdated destructive paradigms. His albums have received critical acclaim and he has collaborated with many world class and award winning musicians and engineers.
O'Neill's contributions offer gratitude and respect through sound. Kinship with non-human relatives is a central theme. He speaks out against the injustices that are clear to see and acknowledges the necessity to always give space for humor, a form of medicine like music.
Matthew has an academic background that includes the study of wisdom traditions, musical ethnography, soundscape ecology, cultural anthropology, and history. He runs an Indigenous based music label called Underwater Panther Coalition which focuses on decolonizing music and listening modalities while directly supporting Indigenous artists and their communities. His mission is to help teach people to love, to love Mother Earth through music and fulfill obligations of reciprocity through sound, prayer, and action.
This new album, Songs of Connection, leans into his love of old school cumbia. Cumbia music originally jumped into his world via John Sayle's 1997 film 'Men With Guns'. O'Neill has since done extensive research and writing on the roots of Cumbia through a decolonial lens. Songs of Connection was made in the Catskills but the album creates a sonic world that while rooted there, lives in it's own transcontinental realm. John Medeski plays keys, Jesse Murphy on bass, Manuel Quintana and Roberto Rodriquez on drums and percussion. Chris Zaloom on lap steel. All bring an impressive and interesting musical background to the record.
"Matthew lives and breathes the kind of spiritually expansive music that allows the listener to bring their own trip to the trip." - BKQ
released August 18, 2022
Matthew O’Neill : Vocals, Guitar, Synth, Vocoder
John Medeski : Piano, Rhodes, Mellotron, Organ
Jesse Murphy : Bass
Roberto Rodriquez : Percussion
Manuel Quintana : Drum Kit
Storey Littleton : Vocals
Cally Mansfield : Vocals
Danny Blume : Baritone Guitar 1,5
Chris Zaloom : Lap Steel 2,4,8
Alex Simon : Lap Steel 6, 9
Producer : Matthew O’Neill
Engineer : Danny Blume
Mixing : Danny Blume with Matthew O’Neill
Mastering : Dave McNair
Vinyl Mastering : Amy Dragon
Recorded at Hidden Quarry Studio
All songs written by Matthew O’Neill with the Catskill Mountains, Munsee, Mohican, and Mohawk traditional lands.