Photo credit: Jesse Spencer

“Technically I’m headlining because I’m playing last, but playing last in Nashville doesn’t necessarily mean you’re headlining,” laughs indie rocker Matt Hires of his upcoming show on Thursday, November 10th. “I love playing at The High Watt, and it’s officially the last date on the American Wilderness tour.”

The Nashville-based Florida native, who has been making music full-time for the last eight years and spent six of those years on Atlantic Records, released his latest album, American Wilderness, in October. “Now I’m doing the independent thing,” he says with a laugh.

Two years ago, Hires made the move to the Music City for a much-needed change of scenery. “The move influenced the music on American Wilderness, it freed me up to write in new ways,” he recalls. “I knew a lot of people here, and shortly after I moved here, my friends and I started a group called Scotch n’ Songs. We’d bring a new song to the group each time and share a bottle of scotch or bourbon; doing that all of last year forced me to write more, and lot of the songs on the album were born from the necessity of having to bring a new one to the group each time we met.”

While he has enjoyed the process of making his past albums, Hires says this experience was different. “It was really cool for me because my friends played on the album with me,” he recalls. “Usually, we’d call in a host of session musicians to play, but this time it was very communal, very comfortable, and very creative.” The album’s tracks encompass age-old themes, including struggles with faith. “I grew up as a pastor’s kid in the South, and church was the main thing in my household,” Hires says. “Most of my friends were from church, and our community was all about church. After I grew up and moved away, my wife and I took a year off from church and took the time to reevaluate where we stand on things. I wrestled with how I relate to the culture of Christianity in America, it’s one of the main themes on the record. I’m in a much better place, my faith has grown in the struggle, but I don’t think you can ever really come to an end conclusion.”

Hires and company just finished a five week tour run, averaging 500 miles a day in the van, with everyone battling colds and the flu; he’s excited to be healthy and rested, and his show at The High Watt is definitely not to be missed.

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