August 2, 2020

6-8 pm

Matt Nakoa is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. A modern troubadour, he makes his home on the highways and concert stages of America and appears regularly with folk music icon Tom Rush. The Boston Globe says of Nakoa, “Between his piano chops and heartfelt originals on guitar, he drops jaws.”

Born on a small goat farm in New York State, Nakoa trained to be a concert pianist before accepting a scholarship to Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. He developed his dramatic songwriting style with his college art-rock band, The Fens, and when the band dissolved, he landed in NYC. It was in Manhattan’s all-night piano bars that Matt developed an uncanny ability to command the attention of any audience.

2012 and 2014 saw the release of his first solo albums, garnering multiple songwriting awards, including a win at Kerrville Folk Festival’s new folk competition. Nakoa’s newest album, Casting Shadows, is a spellbinding blend of pop, soul, and classical influences and tells a story of childhood dreams crashing headlong into a grownup reality. The Ark of Music magazine proclaims, “What we have here is a truly encouraging sign of what pop could once again become …”

“Matt is definitely on his way up. I’m hoping he’ll let me open for him when he’s doing stadiums.” – Tom Rush

“With a quintessential throwback R&B sound which features Nakoa’s lively made-for-the-genre vocals sharing a dance with just the right quantity of bluesy-electric licks, the track feels like Timberlake cut a track with Mayer—a few decades back. All in all, what we have here is a truly encouraging sign of what pop could once again become in this classic tale of the tragic melding of love and ambition.” – The Ark of Music

“On the ivories, (think of) a hot-handed phenom who can go from Chopin to beer-drenched honky-tonk in one set …On guitar, a Jack Johnson-esque singer-songwriter… Nakoa does not disappoint. Actually, between his piano chops, charismatic stage presence, and heartfelt originals on guitar … he drops jaws.” – The Boston Globe

“All I can say is wow! Phenomenal high tenor voice, outstanding musicianship and songs that grab the heart. He also knows how to work the audience. I predict Matt is going places.” – Rich Warren, WFMT Chicago

“[2014] Discovery of the Year: Matt Nakoa, a supremely gifted singer-songwriter-guitarist pianist … ” – John Platt, WFUV

“His command of the musical environment (playing, writing, stage presence) is wonderful.” – Livingston Taylor

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