“I was thinking about the Basement Tapes [a collection of tracks that Bob Dylan recorded with The Band in 1967] and how I always loved the way those songs made me feel, and also how they were all recorded so simply,” he says. [Verse 1] You still don't believe, you don't believe You don't believe, and your grievances show When your soapbox unfolds [Pre-Chorus] But please come down from that cloud you're sitting on I don't expect you to admit that you were wrong [Chorus] I just want to know how you've been It don't make me feel bad that we're still friends Mulling it all over in my bed I hope that you see through your picket I hope that you see through your big yard and white picket fence To make amends And still be friends, still be my friend [Verse 2] So where did you go? “Then when I was 18, I bought an acoustic and learned how to finger-pick like Donovan and started teaching myself Bob Dylan songs.” Costa next tried his hand at songwriting, as well as recording his own demos with the help of a four-track.In 2003 he released his debut EP (the simply titled Matt Costa EP, produced by No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont) and, in 2005, put out his first full-length album (Songs We Sing, which was re-released the following year by Brushfire Records).“It was a huge help in terms of giving me the inspiration to work with more interesting chords and these bigger, grander themes.” Costa also focused on constructing songs that could accommodate horn arrangements, a throwback to his childhood days of playing the trumpet (an instrument he ended up pawning at age 17 to get the cash to purchase a Rolling Stones songbook).
Soon Costa found himself in the midst of a highly unanticipated yet deeply expansive evolution of artistry as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
“Before I went to Glasgow, I thought I was going to end up with all these rainy songs that would sort of reflect my idea of what Scotland was like, as someone who comes from Southern California,” says Costa, who grew up in Huntington Beach.
“But then once I got there, I realized I was neglecting my more upbeat side, so I started to work that into the album as well.” Indeed, Costa’s Southern California roots have long played a key role in guiding his musical career.
On the lead single “Good Times,” for instance, he offers up a cabaret-worthy, piano-driven stomper with a clever twist at its chorus (“Good times are coming/To an end”).
Another deceptively breezy number, “Loving You” finds Costa channeling T.