Although he was born in New York City, and raised by parents who were from New York and New England, Matt spent his childhood and adolescence in Nashville, TN. His early exposure to the music studios and the craft of songwriting shaped Matt’s world view, and his vision for what his life would be about.
After years of playing in bands, like the Knoxville-based honky-tonk band, The Whiskey Scars, Matt began focusing more on his individual craft as a songwriter and storyteller. He dove into the catalogs of the greats like, Guy Clark, Springsteen, Townes, John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and others…while also earnestly studying great poets like, Lorca, Neruda, Merwin, Muriel Rukeyser and Mary Oliver.
He was 29 when he met ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement, and the two quickly decided to make an album together. To that point in his life, Urmy had not ever had an opportunity to work so closely with someone who had accomplished so much in music. Urmy had loved Jack’s work from afar, and never dreamed that he would one day get to hone his own craft under the guiding hand of the Maestro (as he was often called).
The sessions began in the original Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa, which was a studio upstairs in what had once been the attic. All the Nashville greats had done sessions there, and it was the most vibed-out places Matt had ever seen.
Sessions began in December of 2010, and by spring, mixing was well under way. That’s when disaster hit. Jack’s home and studio were lost in a fire, and with the album gone, and Jack’s life in a massive recovery mode, Matt began work on a software startup project called, Artist Growth, which was a vision to build an artist management system. The company was launched in early 2012, and today serves many of the industries premiere acts and managers.
It was summer of 2012 that Matt received a call from Cowboy’s engineer notifying him that despite all odds, a few albums had been recovered from a hard drive that had been salvaged from the ashes the morning after the fire, and Matt’s album was one of them. Due to his commitments for Artist Growth, Matt was unable to return to work on the project right away. But, later that year, the team went into Sound Emporium Studio A and cut two new tracks for the album, one of which was the Allen Reynolds song, We Must Believe In Magic, which is the song Jack played for Matt the night they met.
By 2013, Jack’s home and studio were rebuilt, and the team reassembled once more to record the final track that Matt had written for Jack called, Out Of The Ashes, in the new studio. That was also the year that Matt and long-time friend of Jack, Dub Cornett, co-produced a tribute show for Jack at the War Memorial Auditorium, and it was a star-studded night of tribute to the Cowboy’s life and work.
After the song was mixed, Matt connected to another one of his heroes, John Prine. He sent Mr. Prine a rough mix of the song attached to an email, and asked if he would like to sing on the track, since they had both been at Cowboy’s house the day of the fire. Mr. Prine replied that he was in Ireland on vacation at the time, but that he had a friend in the next village who had a studio, and if Matt would send an instrumental version of the song and the lyrics, that he’d go over there and cut some vocals and send them back.
A couple weeks later, a teary-eyed Urmy, sat in his office at Artist Growth and listed to a vocal-only track of Mr. Prine’s voice, singing through the words and melody of the album’s title track. The final mix was completed only 4 weeks after Mr. Clement passed away in the fall of 2013, and it’s only now that Matt has been able to release the album that he and Jack began 7 years prior.