Artists: Matt Malley

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GONZO WEEKLY #159: Jon meets Matt Malley

Its been about a year since we first told you about ‘Family Circle’ the extraordinary collaboration between two legendary artists; Jon Anderson, most famous for his work with Yes, and Matt Malley ex of Counting Crows. The thing that makes it such an extraordinary piece of work is that – as is quite normal in these peculiar days – the two parts were recorded separately, but whereas there is a tendency for such collaborations to sound sterile, and get lost in a digital wasteland, this piece of music is bizarrely organic, sounding for all of the world as if Jon and Matt sat around a piano surrounding a roaring fire, eating cake and drinking tea, recording together out of a sprit of mutual love, admiration and good vibes.

What makes it even nicer is that the money received from the single has gone to the following charities: the Fluty Foundation – www.flutyfoundation.org (Jon Anderson), Sahaja Yoga Meditation – www.sahajayoga.org (Matt Malley) and the National Autistic Society –www.autism.org.uk (Rob Ayling of Gonzo Multimedia) as somebody who has done, and continues to do work with autistic children, that fact that two such stellar talents has collaborated for such a good cause is both heart warming and immensely positive

Jon Anderson said: " 'Family Circle' came together when Matt sent me the beautiful music earlier this year. I sang the song and lyric idea and sent it back to Matt, thanking him for the great energy. Eventually, Matt added some more sounds and the haunting guitar solo. We decided to have all sale proceeds go to our respective charities. It's a pleasure to release this around Thanksgiving time, reminding us of our connection with our families and how our children keep us together, bonding our love of life."

Matt Malley said: "Not only am I a fan of Jon's voice but I’m a fan of his fearless spiritual outlook which appears in all of his music. A mutual friend said we should meet and got us in touch and after talking a little, Jon said, 'So send some music!' - so I had a cup of my best Darjeeling tea, went into my studio and came up with the instrumental arrangement that you hear on 'Family Circle'. I sent the file up to Jon and it came back with his marvelous voice, lyrics…everything that brought the song to becoming fully realized.”

But now, as regular readers of these pages will know, the game has moved up to another level, and ‘Family Circle’ has been put onto the shortlist for nominations for the Grammy Awards.

If you are anything like me this needs a little clarification because although I had heard briefly of the Grammy Awards I didn’t know what they were. So over to those jolly nice people at Wikapedia: A Grammy Award (originally called Gramophone Award), or Grammy, is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. It shares recognition of the music industry as that of the other performance arts: Emmy Awards (television), the Tony Awards (stage performance), and the Academy Awards (motion pictures). The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959, to honor the musical accomplishments by performers for the year 1958. Following the 2011 ceremony, NARAS overhauled many Grammy Award categories for 2012. The 57th Grammy Awards was held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

So to mark this momentous occasion and – hopefully – to add some good vibes to propel this project on its uphill trajectory, we have a special treat for all of you, especially fans of Jon Anderson and/or Matt Malley.

This week I have interviewed both of them separately about the project and you can hear our conversations, which – as is often the case with my interviews – ramble off onto all sorts of interested side topics.

We have followed this project since the beginning, and will continue to do so, have no doubt that if, indeed, this glorious work of art does get nominated for a Grammy, we will be the first to tell you all about it. It is humbling to be part, albeit a small part, of such as important and spiritually uplifting project.


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Matt Malley Biography

Matt Malley will best be known as the bassist and founder member of American rock band, Counting Crows. Whilst Matt was with the band between the years 1990 and 2004, it achieved massive worldwide success, releasing a number of hugely successful albums and touring the world. Matt also received nominations for an Oscar, Grammy and a Golden Globe award.

Since leaving Counting Crows Matt has concentrated on his craft as a bassist and working in his recording studio on his own projects and on production for others. 

In 2009 he spent time recording with former Yes and Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz, and joined up with singer /song writer Emitt Rhodes playing bass. 

Matt’s debut solo album entitled The Goddess Within was released in 2008 and will appeal to fans that have followed his career with Counting Crows and beyond.

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