Falling in Love with Mat Kearney

I found him here after hearing this song—the song he must be so tired of playing…the song he ended his set with Saturday night–and I knew I just had to find out more. I looked and Google took me to an old blog entry where he was in Istanbul, Turkey, in January of 2007–looking out over the Bosporus River and reading the book of Ephesians.

I bought his cd and the other book he was reading, Nicole Krauss’s History of Love.

It’s hard for this forty-one year old mother of two to admit, but I fell just a wee bit in love (despite his funny hat). Mat Kearney writes the kind of music that names my feelings, awakens the longing, gently stirs the sehnsucht.

So…when I found out he was coming to town, I think I was the first person to order tickets. Passion is contagious, and I caught a little at his show Saturday night. Two days later I still can’t believe our luck.

He played the Alban Theater. The Alban Theater! This is the place my husband went to watch movies when he was a boy. Even Mat wondered how he ended up there. 

What’s the story about this place? He questioned the audience at one point.

We were speechless. How to tell him that St. Albans was once a thriving suburb of Charleston? That all the engineers from Carbide moved their families here in the 50s and 60s when this was a hustling bustling chemical valley? That the nearby town of Nitro was named after the Nitrocellulose plant that the government used to manufacture explosives during WWI?

My husband grew up in this little town called St. Albans and he always fascinates me with stories of riding his bike to the pool in the summer and walking bridges over the river to get to school in the fall. It must have been like growing up in Mayberry.

But those glory days have faded and the St. Albans that Mat drove into on Saturday is just the fading memory of days gone by. Most everyone had driven in from nearby Charleston. Or Huntington. Even a few from Ohio, across the river.

We were glad he came. There wasn’t a bad seat in the little theater.  It was the first show of their acoustic tour. Stripped down, but no small sound. No light show. But I couldn’t help noticing that Mat’s guitar reflected some kaleidoscope light onto the walls of the theater and it seemed a fitting accompaniment to this intimate gathering.

My boys were mesmerized.

It was wonderful. He made us laugh and cry. We sang along and clapped our hands. I won’t be forgetting this one for a while. Here’s a few memories from the show…


  1. says

    Well, this almost-58-year-old likes him, too. Thank you for the treat.

    Btw, we don’t live so far from one another. My husband and I drive out into WVa often, usually to Berkeley Springs and other artsy towns.

  2. says

    I will check out his music. Thank you! I love discovering new songs to treasure.
    Your post also brought back memories of so many trips through Huntington and Charleston, WVa, on the way to see family in eastern Ky.
    And Nitro, oh nitro. I can still smell it now!

  3. says

    No, Glynn! He did not play Runaway Car. It’s one of my new faves too. He only played two songs from the Black and White album: “All I Have” (my favorite) and “Closer to Love”. He played a couple new songs from a four song EP that is only available on vinyl right now. One was about his father…it had me in tears. So beautiful and sad. Made me think about all the sacrifices earlier generations have gone through.

    It was so good.

    Maureen…we’ll have to meet up at Berkeley Springs some day. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

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