Top 10 of 2011 – #10: “Summer Song” by Matt Duncan

20 Dec
And it begins! The top 10 of 2011 begins with, well, number 10. The owner of this home is Matt Duncan and his infectious throwback “Summer Song.” Matt Duncan is a “sporadically ambitious nobody, reluctant bandleader, and eremitic songwriter/producer. From Lexington, Kentucky.”
Hey, don’t look at me, you see the quotes. This is the description that Duncan gives on his website. He has been in bunch of bands in Lexington over the years.  Duncan released an album/EP entitled Beacon in 2010 on the Lexington label Hip Hop. It can be purchased here for $4. He, in August of 2011, released single entitled “Summer Song.” It is free…for now. It can be listened to below and purchased, or rather, acquired here. It is catchy as hell so be warned.
Matt Duncan, while currently an enigmatic figure to me, will soon be well known. I obviously have no control over this but I do have this handy blog format to describe to you why “Summer Song” is an exceptional song that most definitely deserves to be in our top 10 countdown and on most people’s iPods or whatever music listening device. By now I will presume you have listened to the hit. Let’s talk about it, shall we.
With the rising popularity of bands like Fitz and the Tantrums, indie/soul is on the up. I personally love the Motown/soul sound and these retro performers and songs evoke doo-wop, coordinated dance moves, and names like the Four Tops and the Temptations. Music that can/will make you smile. Music that will also latch on and never let go. Seriously, you can mention “My Girl” or “I Can’t Help Myself” and the songs will get stuck in my head. Damn! “Summer Song” evokes a similar feeling. It is a fun-loving, uplifting song equipped with deep harmonies, moving horns, and even an end-of-song funk breakdown.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the band behind Duncan on this song.
Ryan Moore- Euphonium, Trombone, Evan Belt- Trumpet, Andrew English- Lead Guitar, Larry DeVivo- Mastering
I love when the impact of all can be clearly deciphered in a song. The arrangement of this song is masterful. The song begins with rhythmic snapping and some talented baritones providing this insanely catchy bass-like riff similar to the “My Girl” opening bass line. This neatly glides into the first part of the vocal. Matt Duncan’s smooth, Paul Simon-like vocal is balanced out initially by some doo-wop like back-up singers, and then by lively horns. Let me say that the bass in this song is wonderfully done. In a lively song with soul elements, an excellent bass is essential. And that bass was provided by Duncan – so were the rhythm guitar, piano, saxophone, backing vocals, and drums.
I absolutely love the beginning, and the verses, in my opinion, are stronger than the chorus. The verses transport me back to an ideal soulful late 60s scene. The chorus is well done, but the verse progression is magical. The second verse premieres what sounds like a muffled euphonium, but, it can also be the trombone. This washes over Duncan’s vocal like a warm wave or a cool beach breeze.
After the second chorus, the baritone brigade is welcomed back to the recording and it introduces my favorite part of the song. A melodious vocal harmony replaces the baritones- a cappella – jam-packed with snapping, humming and a bit of delayed overlay. Then the drums come back in and Duncan jumps into a falsetto that he holds over a funky, Jackson 5-like guitar riff that remains in the background of a horn version of the chorus and a neat guitar solo. The song ends on a perfect little twist on the lyric “Summer Song” and, just like that, summer ends.
In a way this song is a microcosm of a summer day at the beach. You ride in on the low groan of a car’s engine, are welcomed by the bright sun and sea breeze, play in the steamy orange sand and salty seawater, and then, just like that, it’s gone. But boy, it was one hell of a day – and song.
By the way, Duncan hopes to tour once he finishes his full-length so keep an eye out.
There you have it. “Summer Song” is #10. Tune in tomorrow for #9 as the countdown continues!

4 Responses to “Top 10 of 2011 – #10: “Summer Song” by Matt Duncan”

  1. John Phillips December 21, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Nice song. Paul Simon is a good comparison. Laid back, lyrical etc.

    • Matthew Coleman December 21, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      Yeah. It’s a neat, well-organized, and catchy little ditty. I’m hoping Matt Duncan continues writing songs like this.


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