Listening Station: Matt Marshak

By Brent Thompson

Guitarist Matt Marshak has been a fixture on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz chart, but he has always let his instrument do the talking. With the upcoming release of his album Simple Man (March 29), Marshak literally finds his voice on the 11-track outing. Enlisting a crack team of producers, songwriters and session players, Marshak reinvents himself as a singer/songwriter and it’s a surprisingly seamless transition. Drawing on the sounds of early inspirations including Paul Simon and James Taylor, Simple Man fits comfortably in the Americana realm. The video for the album’s title track – which includes cameo appearances by Marshak’s wife and daughter – has already been an online sensation, receiving more than 100,000 views on Facebook alone. Who knows if Marshak will stay on this current course or return to his jazzy roots, but Simple Man is a stylistic detour that pays dividends.