“With the touring and business of life, I’ve never had a chance to write and complete the recording process of a record to my satisfaction,” Matt Vinson explains in a recent phone interview with American Songwriter. Until the pandemic, the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer wielded the little time he found between school, work, and then CAAMP to create music under the moniker The Wonderfool from his home studio in Columbus, Ohio.
On previous projects, like a pair of 2015 LPs and Fixing the Strings in 2018, Vinson would release music when he thought he was done with it. A few months later, he says, “I wish I would have sat on that for a few months. With COVID, of course, and like CAAMP being off the road, I had that luxury, I guess I should say, of writing more songs than I ever had. If it wasn’t working, I would just cut it. If it was not quite there yet, I would like to take a month and restructure the lyrics or form of the song to make it exactly what I want.”
The last song that landed a spot on The Wonderfool’s forthcoming album, Shiner, is “Cool Shade.” Premiering today (June 12), the straightforward song evokes a hypnotic dream state. An acoustic guitar, equipped with baritone strings—which he insists is “nothing groundbreaking”—adds a shimmering texture, creating more melodic depth to the summertime song than exhibited in his previous work. Like his first release in April, “Long Way From Home,” the second, “Cool Shade,” furthers his folk agenda, moving with ease into a dynamic new soundscape.
This song, like many of the other nine from the album, contains keys. Vinson’s CAAMP bandmate, Taylor Meier, bought the artist a portable Yamaha keyboard, which piqued his interest in incorporating that element into his new full-bodied collection.
“There’s really not a track that doesn’t have a weird element,” says Vinson. “Things like a bowed upright on one and arpeggiating synthesizer. Things that if someone told me I would have on my next record, I would say, ‘You’re crazy, man.”
In giving his music the time and space to evolve, and become what he always hoped it could, the artist practiced more patience. After creating something, his initial instinct is to share with friends or upload it to YouTube. Translating a song from its original intention was not an easy thing for him to do. As a storyteller, he felt a sense of pride in sharing music while he remained in the headspace he occupied when the lyrics were written. This go-round, he didn’t stray from that but allowed the sentiment to marinate.
“I just made sure that I encapsulated exactly what I wanted out of the lyrical meaning of the song. And that also extends its way into the instrumentation. In the past, I’d strip the songs to the barebones of what that they were without using extra stuff, and then I just put it up. With this, I would sit with it for a few months, and say why don’t we try that? Or this? And it ended up being trying everything until I felt like I had nothing else to try.”
Listen exclusively to The Wonderfool’s new track, “Cool Shade,’ below.
Photo Credit: Hillary Jones