Mat Kearney Comes to New Haven

Angela Eklund

What do you get when you combine a five o’clock shadow, black suspenders, and a beautiful voice?

Mat Kearney was in town putting on an excellent performance at Toad’s Place in downtown New Haven while most of campus was away on spring vacation. Ingrid Michaelson, a talented part of his tour, opened for him and performed cover songs from Britney Spears and other artists. Kearney’s hit “Closer to Love” took off after Kearney performed it on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien last summer. Kearney’s music has also been featured on the popular television drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

A man of many instruments, Kearney played piano and guitar at the New Haven performance while singing lead vocals. His travels from his previous album tour for Nothing Left to Lose have a heavy influence on his new album, City of Black and White. As a songwriter, most of his work has been produced on the road.

On his website, Kearney describes a few of the locations where he has written songs, like “City of Black & White”, which was born on a ferry as he crossed the Bosphoros River with a friend. It “splits Istanbul in two as well as acting as an invisible dividing line between two continents” he reminisces, “and I remember the water being dark and my friend turning to one side saying, ‘Look! It’s Europe,’ then turning to the other and saying, ‘Look! It’s Asia,’ then back again.” During an interview he said, “It still feels surreal every night. I feel like I may be fooling someone, like the audience is going to one day prove to be all cardboard cutouts or something. I’m so grateful and honored to be doing what I’m doing.”

Oregon raised and Nashville based, this rising artist didn’t write his first song until he was in college at California State University. Only 5 years into the music industry, Kearney has plenty of show on the road to go.

You can catch Kearney right now in the UK, where he’ll be performing shows in Glasgow, Birmingham, and London over the next few weeks. Unless you’re planning a trip to Europe soon, we can all look forward to Kearney performing for us in the states again soon!