It is difficult to find the “new” in emerging music these days. Sure, new sounds come along; curious pairings between rockers and country bawlers and haunting and edgy renditions of sounds from yesteryear are the fad, probably because ingenuity and cleverness become a rarity as time rolls on. Who has the time to forge a new way when hours spent on YouTube memorizing a favorite star’s moves and sounds are an easier path to internet stardom?
For Matt Venuti, a guy who has left the pack and created a sound all his own, choosing the path less traveled has served his quest for uniqueness well. Main band for most of Silicon Valley’s kings, including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates? Check. House band for George Lucas’s stellar parties, because his sound is reminiscent of the Cantina Band from Star Wars? Check, check. Coming to Sarasota this weekend so you should treat yourself to something innovative and special? Check, check, check.
Matt Venuti is a singer/songwriter who plays haunting and entrancing melodies on the Hang, which has transformed the modern musical instrument industry. His other “instrument” of choice is the EVI (Electric Valve Instrument.) Matt became obsessed with the EVI when he heard it demonstrated by Mike Metheny. The layering of sounds, all coming from one instrument and one musician intrigued Matt so much that his life would revolve around the idea of a one-man band. Matt jumped at an opportunity to become the spokesperson for the company that produced the EVI, and traveled the country demonstrating this new-wave instrument. His newly found sound that was completely unique and innovative caught on. His group, the Venusians, were become a trendy favorite around San Francisco and they soon found themselves playing for Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Before long, Craigslist founder, Craig Newmark, dubbed them the “Emissaries of Sonic Shamanism.” Matt’s band was also asked to open for a TED conference where he opened with an EVI solo, and was invited to give his own TED talk on the instrument. Switching between the EVI to the Hang, an acoustical instrument that resembles a flying-saucer was a natural progression for Matt. This strange instrument can be played both melodically and rhythmically at the same time, creating a captivating sound and experience for the audience.
Matt’s successes and international acclaim were brought to a stunning halt when he lost the love of his life, Yolanda, during their 20th year together. Time alone in retrospection among the redwoods, canyons and beaches helped guide him toward his next musical phase, again, forging fearlessly in a new direction. This time Matt’s thoughts and feelings are providing poetic lyrics that he has paired with his haunting melodies. His latest CD, The Rhythm of Life, contains nine original songs plus a stirring rendition of Bill Wither’s Lean on Me. Accompanied by female vocalists and bandmates playing a pedel steel guitar, African harp, piano, organ, and drums, Matt and his group are invigorating audiences across the country with fresh, thought-provoking tunes and lyrics. Playing intimate venues with a Zen vibe has worked well for Matt who has grown his fan base to now include local Sarasota folks. Matt has been staying on Siesta Key for the past month recording songs for another album.
He will be playing at the Pineapple Yoga and Event Center on March 3rd, with a reception at 7:00 P.M. and performance at 8:00 P.M. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Contact Claudia@pineappleyogastudio.net or call (941) 210-3739 for further ticket information. Matt wants everyone to know that people need not be into yoga at all to come. The yoga studio is a perfect venue for his sound and vibe. If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, something we could all use these days, then consider slipping away for a couple of hours for music you will not soon forget. According to Music Industry News Network, Matt’s sound is “awe-inspiring and unforgettable.” Come on, Sarasota, don’t miss this one.
For more information on Matt Venuti, please visit http://www.mattvenuti.com/.
Photos and videos courtesy of Matt Venuti