Matt Moore

Finding His Place: Athens’ Matt Moore Releases Long-Awaited Debut

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“My first two years of college, I really didn’t enjoy the town, or the scene, or any of the students. But there was one night in particular that I’ll never forget when it all changed.”

It was Good Friday in 2009 when local musician Matt Moore found his place in Athens.

He was strolling down a wet, empty Court Street and found himself in front of the Blue Eagle music shop, full of people playing instruments and having a good time.

“I slipped inside and just listened. One by one they became aware of my presence but just kept jamming and drinking,” Moore said. “I spent the rest of the night drinking their beer, tapping my feet and being my awkward self among these people.”

Moore was amazed by Blue Eagle’s casual atmosphere; how people were hanging out and making music just for the fun of it. From that point on, he has felt free to make the music he wants, without any constraints.

Moore, 26, grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, surrounded by the sounds of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and the like.

“My high school years were full of punk and hardcore influences, but Athens brought me into the style of music that I always heard around my family. During my solitary ‘coming of age years’ I really got to explore these folk/rural motifs with Athens life as the perfect context,” Moore explained.

Now Moore is releasing First Songs, a collection of 20 tunes about different places he has visited (including many Athens-centric tracks), made possible with a little help from his friends.

Recorded by Josh Antonuccio at 3 Elliott Studio, the album features a who’s-who of Athens musicians, including Jake Householder, Bruce Dalzell and Ricky Chilcott.

Aside from the large Athens influence, Moore has spent time on the West Coast and Las Vegas, which also affected his writing.

“Those songs never would have happened if I hadn’t lived on Dollar Bill Court in Vegas, missing the Ohio rivers and trees, or if I hadn’t spent the Fourth of July on Santa Monica Beach, throwing a frisbee to some stranger’s dog,” Moore said.

Of all the songs on the album, “Upswing” is Moore’s favorite track. The last to be written, the song continues to fascinate and intrigue him each time he visits it.

“Sometimes songs can unveil their meaning to me anew, even after I’ve written them,” Moore said. “Not that they’re prophetic at all, but like looking at painting a second time, or a tree a month later, sometimes songs have can offer different insights at different times as one changes as a person.”

A CD release show has been scheduled for April 30 at Central Venue in Athens, and Moore is excited to perform his songs for the town that played such a large role in their creation.

“Central Venue will be like nothing I’ve ever done before–playing to a large room and finally sharing my album with people. I’ve never had a baby, but I feel like this is as close as I’ve come to releasing something into the world like that.”

Thursday’s show gets underway at 6 p.m. Visit or Moore’s Facebook page for more information.