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Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles with Escape Wheel

Friday, Jan. 5, The Bouquet

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There are hundreds of thousands of American musicians all vying for listeners' time and adoration. Add the rest of the world's music makers into the mix and the hundreds of millions of options are, at the least, overwhelming. Ultimately, this means that to get your attention, a musician has to offer up something special: a unique look--and listen--into the human condition. Matt Hopper is one such musician.

Hopper's music is as wide-reaching and varied as the Alaskan landscape he calls home. His music is quintessential Americana: a blend of pop, folk, classic country, rock, and indie-everything. He's a brilliant lyricist and story-teller, and even when he's singing a string of la-la-la's, as in his song "Silver Tongue" (from his 2004 release Gold Rush), it's not because he had nothing else to say. Each "la" is sung with as much grit as the rest of the track that includes lyrics like You could be a building block but you're the weight on my back/Remember all the times I gave of myself or did it slip though the cracks?

If you haven't heard or heard of Hopper before, check out his myspace site at www.myspace.com/matthopper. He has four songs you can listen to including "Silver Tongue" and "Serious as a Heart Attack," which delivers--in both lyrics and music--a kind of melancholy joy that would have been a perfect addition to the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. Then make sure to catch him live, performing with his band the Roman Candles. Hopper's definitely one-in-a-million.

--Amy Atkins

Friday, January 5, 9 p.m., $3, with Escape Wheel, The Bouquet, 1010 Main St.