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Mat D and the Profane Saints | Holyoke

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United States - Iowa

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Rock: Americana Country: Alt-Country Moods: Mood: Brooding
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by Mat D and the Profane Saints

Hard luck Americana and bad man ballads that recall the topography and myths of the Old West culminated in a blend of Rockabilly, Alt Country, Surf, Blues and Southern Rock.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Half Mile Holler
2:57 album only
2. Tin Can Soul
3:22 album only
3. Sawmill Road
3:34 album only
4. Gambling, Girls and Guns
3:58 album only
5. Carry Me to Canaan
3:46 album only
6. Roadhouse Shrine
3:08 album only
7. Arcadia Town
3:39 album only
8. Holyoke
3:48 album only
9. Aces in a Dead Man's Hand
4:11 album only
10. Eastbound Denver Train
4:21 album only
11. Dirt Road to Hell
4:14 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Originally conceived as a solo album, production on Holyoke began in August of 2011 as a follow up to Mat's acclaimed 2010 release Plank Road Drag. Percussionist Jeff Deignan was asked to record drum tracks for the new album adding a new element to the sessions to round out the sound in an attempt to depart the percussion-less solo recordings of the past. Upon rehearsing many of the songs slated for release on the album, it was decided that the project was leaning more towards a full band effort; despite the album's more subdued and personal tone in comparison to the Profane Saints earlier irreverent work on Small Town Burning and Dirt Town City Limits. After some argument and serious debate, the old recordings were scrapped almost a year later - even though the album was virtually complete. The band started over from scratch. As sessions continued the album transitioned from a solo recording to a full blown Profane Saints album. The group forged ahead into new territory, leaving little of the Rockabilly infused Country Rock of it’s past for a decidedly more progressive sound marrying a blend of Blues, Surf, Cajun, Old Time Country and Americana influences into an insurgent Roots Rock sound that better reflected the mood and the overall direction of the songwriting.

Lyrically the album was inspired by the desert prairie landscape of Eastern Colorado, Western Nebraska and the Black Hills of South Dakota. The death of Mat's Father in 2008 and subsequent death of his Grandfather in 2011 meant many road trips back to his native State of Colorado to say goodbye. On the final and somber trip back home from Denver, Mat saw a sign on the edge of the interstate that read "Holyoke" and thought "Holyoke - there's nothing holy about this landscape...it all seems so forsaken…so barren." Mat's thoughts culminated in this statement:

"I felt as though everywhere I turned and in every direction I was a half mile from hell."

The inspiration had been found. The concept and theme of the new album took form recalling the topography, deep seeded legends and myths of the Old West. Snapshots of ghost towns and landmarks that lay in ruins with long lost angels of a golden age reborn as languished spirits in the decay of the modern world. Old train depots, dive bars, lonely highways and abandoned mines were translated into gritty tales of phantom railroads, ill-revered roadhouses and back door brothels with a salty cast of killers and ramblers that populated them; with death, God and the devil waiting for them all at the bitter end.

Holyoke also marks a new beginning for the band with the addition of bass guitarist Shawn Blomberg, with founding members Jeff Deignan (drums/percussion) and Kurt Mullins (electric guitar / bass guitar) remaining as a revitalized and focused core the group with their eyes set firmly on the band‘s future, looking forward to hitting the road with singer-songwriter Mathew deRiso at the helm with plenty of Hard Luck Americana and Bad Man Ballads on tap. It’s business as usual…Welcome to Holyoke.



to write a review

Jason Henjes

Two Kinds of People
There are 2 kinds of people... those that love Mat D & The Profane Saints and those that haven't heard them yet.

Want a taste of good music? I'm not talking some over compressed autotuned garbage you hear on the radio, I'm talking about the best thing you might ever let your ears have a piece of. Some people are calling this Mat's best work... I agree and disagree. It's all his best, all the time, you never get less. But if you had to pick just ONE CD to own of his, THIS would be it. "Holyoke" is like going to a Pentecostal serpent handling while guzzling white lightning... you will get bit and you won't care. Buy it folks, this will LIVE in your CD player until the next release Mat conjures up.

Jim Pipkin - Empty Bottles and Broken Souls

Holyoke is what Americana music should be.
I’m picky and sparing with reviews, because most of the time when an artist wants a “review” what they are actually looking for is “praise”…or at the very least a quotable bit of gushing to help them market their product.

Most of the time when I hear a new indie CD, it is not ready for prime time - not for a review, not even ready for a pre-mastering remix. Certainly not ready for the brutal battle that is radio. Ego, poverty, ignorance - for whatever reason, somebody involved in these projects forgot that the reason most people want to listen to a particular set of tunes over and over again is because they don’t sound like crap.

I feel very differently about this album, since I’ve watched the entire project from the bleachers. Three years in the making, with a lot of upheavals and drama along the way, and the entire time I kinda had my fingers crossed that this would be worth all that effort. I should have known better.

From the very first notes of “Half Mile Holler”, the opening track, Holyoke lives and breathes. Some of the finest Americana I’ve ever heard, from lyrics to instrumentals to overall sound presence. Holyoke grabs you by the ears and slaps some sense into you.

Every song on this recording is my favorite in some way, either for a killer stomp beat, an earworm guitar riff, or a perfectly turned phrase. Something is “just right” with every single track. All are well balanced, painstakingly crafted, and ready for prime spots on any serious playlist. Great tunes for driving, dancing, or just hollering along to. This band, and this songwriter, are hitting their stride now, it is great to see them playing to sold-out venues and garnering serious attention from some industry gatekeepers.

Mat D’s growling vocals are complemented perfectly by the team of pickers he has assembled into the Profane Saints. Kurt Mullins’ guitar licks whirl and scream like a desert dust devil through these tunes. In my opinion he is one of the best pickers in the business, and having a voice like Mat’s matched against string work this strong takes every track to a different level. Jeff Deignan’s percussion work is exactly where it needs to be every single time, and new bass man Shawn Bloomberg has stepped up with a steady, solid style that anchors the project very well.

This is one shit-hot band, no lie, and the stellar quality of the original material allows everybody’s best to shine through.

It is hard to sum up so many great stories, strong images, tight arrangements and moments of soaring artistry in a few words, but it is certainly worth a try.

Holyoke is what Americana music should be. This is the way hard work sounds when you just let go and let it howl.