In the beginning, playing the music known as Americana was what poor people did to cheer themselves up in the face of a life laden with struggle and poverty.
Some even called Americana mountain music because of its bluegrass and folk routes but these days perhaps the origin of the sound is much less important than simply playing it.
Wellington lawyer and musician Matt Hay recently released his second album.
The singer-songwriter is also the principal at Succeed Legal.
Something Blue, made with his band The Makers is the follow-up to Hay’s 2007 debut Inside Stories and the 2012 EP Where Do We Go From Here?
Something Blue is a collection of songs about beautiful losers dealing with life’s ups and downs. It kicks off with the catchy country rock of Last Jubilee, a toe-tapping Warratahs-style track awash with mandolin.
Hay makes no secret of his love for John Hiatt and I Won’t Let You Down is an obvious tribute to Have A Little Faith In Me from the brilliant Bring the Family Hiatt album from 1987.
While the trust law expert takes care of guitar, harmonica and vocals, his band includes Clint Meech on keyboards, Phil Hope on mandolin, George Barris on bass, while Delia Shanly is behind the drum kit.
Matt Hay is well known amongst the Wellington blues and roots music scene having first cut his teeth as a harmonica player in the band Cool Disposition during the early 1990s.
Hay has also played harmonica alongside well-known blues musicians, Darren Watson, Dave Murphy and Marg Layton.
Something Blue contains 12 tracks. Stand outs include Long, Long Day and the mellow Somewhere I’ve Been Before.
The closing track, Ain’t Gonna Worry in a sense sums up Hay’s no frills attitude to music.
And High Roller has a country swamp gospel sound to it with its dobro-driven blues guitar wailing through the track.
Matt Hay pens songs that barely venture beyond his own suburban backyard. He doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what he is; a balladeer from the ‘burbs’.
And perhaps it’s that unpretentious secret ingredient that works so well with his style of Americana roots music.
Something Blue is available from Band Camp and iTunes.