Does the world need another earnest acoustic guitar player, singing of love, loss and other "L" words? Well, as long as it's Matt Costa, we can do with one more. His debut album, Songs We Sing, offers strong melodies and tight musicianship in a tidy package, and displays enough musical variety to keep the ADHD crowd entertained.
While listening to this album, I was reminded of artists like Sufjan Stevens, the Beatles and Jack Johnson, who Costa opened for at the Idaho Center on August 12. On the plus side, Costa injects energy and bounce into his songs; the opener "Yellow Taxi" kicks things off with a beat that feels like it's on the verge of becoming "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard."
Over the course of 12 songs, Costa demonstrates a willingness to swing into Cat Stevens territory ("Astair"), country ("Sweet Rose") and pop with a trumpet twist ("Whiskey and Wine"). Every genre he turns his attention to gets a cheery sheen, and if his lyrics are less than compelling, the music and his pleasantly reedy tones more than make up for it. Good music for sitting and swinging on a summer day.