with Special Guest Paul McDonald
Sat, April 20, 2019
$12 in Advance // $15 at the Door
This event is 21 and over
For two decades, Kyle Cook spent the bulk of his musical life as the lead guitarist of matchbox twenty. He co-wrote some of the songs and invented many of the instrumental riffs that have become distinguishing parts in such radio staples as “Real World,” “Unwell” and “Bent.” But plenty of his creative persona was held in check as he collaborated in a team effort.
With Wolves, his solo debut, Cook invests so much of himself in the project that a discerning listener can get a good idea of who the guitar player really is. He’s a studied musician with an all- American Midwestern background, a guy who has a penchant for classic rock with just enough classical training to make him dangerous, and an adult whose experiences with the cycle of love and loss are extraordinarily familiar.
Wolves explores the complicated progression of heartbreak and healing while shining a light on his musical influences. The Queen-ish guitar tones in “Better This Way,” the Tom Petty-sounding foundation of “Wishing Well” and The Eagles-like harmonies in “I Would’ve Left Me Too” all point to the kinds of popular music – melodic songs with sturdy-but-simple arrangements – that influenced his ascent. The string section in the closing “Silver Lining (Opus)” harkens to the formal orchestral training he received at the start of his musical journey. Meanwhile, the resigned anger in “Would It Kill You” and the haunting loneliness in “Ghost Towns” point to the difficult personal struggle he endured with the breakup of a long-term marriage.
It’s all delivered with a fuzzy, guy-next-door vocal quality that makes Cook a bit of a rarity: a rock star whose restraint makes him completely relatable.
“Tastefulness has always been something that matters to me,” he says. “Sometimes it’s the notes that you don’t put in there or the space that you provide that says the most.”
Wolves was a lengthy, four-year exploration that places Cook in a new role. As his life at home evolved, Cook had plenty of emotions to work through. Some found their way into co-writing sessions in Nashville, where he moved during the last decade. And when he wrote “Wolves,” a metaphoric folk song that takes stock of dangerous people, he realized he was opening up a deep well that didn’t fit matchbox twenty.
“That was the catalyst that spearheaded the whole idea of exploring what those wolves are and what they mean in my life,” he says.
That exploration allowed Cook to create songs that fit his own voice, and to break the creative conventions he’d willingly lived with for years, including song length. “Wolves” is barely two minutes long, while the album’s concluding “Silver Lining (Opus)” meshes three songs and one additional chorus in an ambitious 13-minute work. The span between those two tracks demonstrates how willing Cook was to smash the barriers of the standard, three-minute pop song as he explored an internal jumble of emotions.
with Special Guest Paul McDonald
"You’ll always know who Paul McDonald is, out of a million singers you’ll know him. That’s so rare. It’s such a gift.” - Jimmy Iovine
Paul McDonald’s forthcoming debut full-length album “Modern Hearts” is a testimony of self- destruction and salvation. Billboard describes it as "a beautiful journey of of artistic and personal growth". An album bursting with anthemic hooks, majestically texted alt-rock, tinges of Southern soul, literate introspection, and profound redemption.
The 14-track body of work that represents a full-spectrum of emotions, from soulful and sorrowful tracks, to invigorating new-life anthems, to meditative mid-tempo numbers. Produced by Jordan Lehning (Rayland Baxter, Robert Ellis, Andrew Combs), McDonald enlisted an all star cast of musicians like Ian Fitchuk (James Bay, Kacey Musgraves, Jake Bugg), Todd Lombardo (Nial Horan, Lera Lynn) and Lincoln Parish (Cage the Elephant) to help shape his narrative. Each song, forged of equal parts of the singer/songwriter’s confessionalism & rock and roll irreverence, is brought to life by lifting arrangements and refined vocal delivery. “Making this album saved my life. Darkness is a beautiful gift. It introduced me to new layers of myself and gave me a brand new perspective, but I'm happy to be out of it. The light feels pretty good these days.”
500 4th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107