Bio

Raised in the Schoharie Valley, Durfee's songs reflect his rural upbringing. Leaving pretense and posturing behind, Durfee performs with an aching honesty, pushing his picking capabilities to the limit and choosing his lyrics carefully. Story songs, breath-taking instrumentals, and truly original works dominate Durfee's playing, with suprising covers and moments of lightness and laughter keeping listeners engaged.

 

Durfee has performed for years as a solo artist, as half of the acoustic duo Palatypus, and as part of the acoustic rock trio the Rattling Baddlies.  He has shared stages with many rising stars in the singer-songwriter/ indie rock genre, including Sean Rowe, Amy LaVere, Ryan Montbleu, Diego Garcia, Zach Deputy, Deer Tick, The Felice Brothers and more...

 

In 2007, Palatypus released a five song ep, "Lazaretto" featuring two of Durfee's original tunes.  The album remains out of print at the time.

 

His latest release is 2013's "Little World", a full album of original songs featuring performances from some of Durfee's closest musical friends.  Durfee continues to perform in support of the album and is prepping a new batch of songs to be recorded in the coming year with The Rattling Baddlies.

Review

   

Don’t let the cute track names fool you. Singer-songwriter Matt Durfee’s debut album Little World is a strong showcase for the artist.  He has been on the music scene for a while; playing guitar and vocals for the band Palatypus and performing live. According to his website, the singer recorded the album in spaces like living rooms and bedrooms that were converted into homemade studios.

 

Little World takes more than one listen to fully appreciate, but putting it on repeat is a good use of time.Durfee shows off his talent for bending genres on World. In addition to acoustic rock, the album gets bluesy in places, folksy in others. He incorporates a wide range of instruments. Guitars, electric and acoustic, keyboards, percussion, bass and a harmonica all make appearances throughout the album.  Female vocals and echoing voices enhance Durfee’s debut. The female vocals are especially effective and enhance some of the bluesier elements of World. It doesn’t hurt that the lyrics are accessible and well written.

 

The album opens with a gong-like bang on the track “Drowsy Tigers in Straw Twine.” The track feels almost lackadaisical and lazily moves along. It’s a super chill way to open a record. Durfee sings about feeling divided over “what I have and what I want.” The metaphor is emotional and relatable. Durfee picks up the beat with “Cold Comfort” on the second track. An electric guitar riffs a solo while a percussion instrument plays a pivotal role in keeping the beat up. A real standout track comes halfway through for “What Losing  is Like.” It’s the most blues-sounding track on World. Durfee sounds his most raw and open. Soft vocals from Erin Harke provide a great  juxtaposition to Durfee’s more nasal ones. The track keeps the instrumentals simple, adding a harmonica into the mix occasionally. Put  simply, “What Losing is Like” is a very beautiful song.

 

Initially, it’s easy to see Little World as indie coffee shop music. By digging into the album, the listener discovers a competent singer-songwriter who combines his writing and musical abilities to create a pleasant debut well worth the crowdsourced cash. Durfee sets the stage for a sophomore album that will be eagerly awaited by fans.                              

                                                                                                                                                         - Taylor Evans @ inyourspeakers.com 11/23/13

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Durfee’s own musical arsenal includes a distinctive, instantly identifiable voice as well as his considerable finger-picking skills, but his strongest musical asset is his songwriting talent. Though rooted in folk, his songs reach far beyond the genre’s boundaries to embrace a progressive acoustic attack that comes to the fore on “Kid Gloves” and the album’s closing triptych of tunes – “The Space of a Breath,”  the chugging murder ballad “The Whole Nine” and “Everyone Wants to Be Right.”

 

This is smart stuff – packed with memorable couplets o’ wisdom, unexpected musical twists and turns and impressive lyrical narratives (especially “The Whole Nine”). It’s heady and thoroughly engaging listening experience throughout.

                                                                                                                                                            - Greg Haymes @ Nippertown.com, 11/22/13

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The inertia he felt in approaching such a project might be unconsciously vocalized on opening track “Drowsy Tigers in Straw Twine.” “In my life, I’m equally divided between what I have and what I want,” he sings, a truth we likely all face without feeling the need to put the sentiment to wax. It’s hardly the only gem of wisdom to bubble up on these nine tracks of dense, literate folk rock. Repeat listens are mandatory to absorb meaning in some cases. Not so for Durfee’s melodic sensibilities though. “Cold Comfort” arrives with the power of an indie-pop mega hit; you’ll swear you’ve heard the hook before even upon first listen. If you’re reading this and have the means, put this track in a movie or TV show.

 

In other places, like “Kid Gloves” and the title track, involved compositions suggest an acoustic prog capacity that may rear its head better live. Still, underneath the electric guitars, keyboard and sleigh bells, Durfee’s acoustic guitar remains the anchor. His distinct upper-register voice has its work cut out for itself, given the lyrical terrain it must traverse. At its core is a blues sensibility and a glimmer of a southern accent, which, on ballads like “Broken String,” can recall crooners like Ray Lamontagne.

 

Little World is the work of a perfectionist (“Everyone Wants to Be Right” he insists at the album’s close) but the catch with this genre of music is to keep it from sounding too clean and calculated. Having fully realized the scope of this project while maintaining the imperfect human essence at the core of these tracks might be Durfee’s greatest triumph.

                                                                                                                                                                            - Josh Potter @ Metroland, 11/21/13

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We did miss a number of good acts between the various stages... But we did catch Matt Durfee’s intense set on the Lodge Stage, with songs like “Shinin’ Like a Light,” (Another Thing Entirely) “If Thoughts Could Do That,” (Little World) “A Million Drinks” and a song about Amelia Earhart that featured a mix of driving fingerpicking and bold chords on the guitar. Durfee followed a sing-a-long on “Everyone Wants to Be Right” with the marvelous “Kid Gloves”.

                                                                                                                                                          - Stanley Johnson @ Nippertown.com, 6/17/13

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Dubstep fans, rejoice. Have we got some womp for you.  Just not right now. In the inyourspeakers universe, Matt Durfee is just about as far from dubstep as you can get. But that's not to say we don't like him. We do. Good music can come from any genre, and this folks (no pun intended) is good music. This little gem, recorded at the studio of Albany music collective SwordPaw Music, is an example of what happens when you combine passion, talent, and emotion. Namely, good music.

 

The song unravels a little bit with each passing phase, starting a composed and docile finger-picked guitar (and excellent finger-picked guitar at that) and singing combo, introducing background harmony, featuring a cameo appearance from a lap steel just a little later, opening up to some lush, sweet, oohs, and finally hitting the forte (almost like a drop, for you dubstep junkies still hanging in there) with an electric guitar overlap, more intense vocals, bass, and even a beat (or rather sleighbells and a cymbal crash), before closing up with a little more talented finger picking and oohs.

 

If you give it a chance, it's a chilling and enchanting song. It's folk flavor ensure that it tells a good story, and this guy's dedication to music as life ensures that each work he produces has a lot of him in it. He doesn't hold anything back. He doesn't try to be anything he's not. He just lets his fingers and voice do the talking, and the result is tremendous.

                                                                                                                                                    - Emmett Eldred @ inyourspeakers.com, 11/21/12

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 Matt Durfee played an enjoyable palate cleansing mid-showslot. Relaxed but focused, bent over his six-string, he displayed masterful fingerpicking and strumming accompaniment to songs about the comedies of life.... Durfee was once named in Metroland’s poll as best singer/songwriter, but he has not succumbed to that fame. He has quietly, steadily kept and gained fans, whether solo or with M. R. Poulopoulos in Palatypus. The newer songs show continued growth as a singer/songwriter. According to an entry on his website, a new solo record is slowly being assembled – perhaps by year’s end we’ll hear the fruits of that labor. Look forward to hearing it.

                                                                                                                                                  - Andrew Gregory @ blog.timesunion.com, 4/26/12

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 Opening the show with a sparkling, 45-minute solo set, local favorite Matt Durfee showcased his considerable guitar finger-picking talents, as well as his first-rate songwriting skills with such impressive tunes as the anti-love song “Another Thing Entirely,” the murder ballad “The Whole Nine” and “Everyone Wants to Be Right,” from his tenure with Palatypus.

                                                                                                                                                          - Greg Haymes @ Nippertown.com,   2/21/12