Show Preview: Rich Mattson & the Northstars CD release at Hook & Ladder (Release show Saturday!)

Rich Mattson is one of the Minnesota music world’s coolest dudes. He’s ensconced himself in the Northwoods at his Sparta Sound Studios, but he’s also at the center of some of the coolest music around – recording Charlie Parr, fronting the a kickass Neil Young tribute band with Alan Sparhawk of Low, and playing rough and tumble gigs on big stages and corner bars in every corner of the state.

He’ll be in Minneapolis on Saturday at the Hook & Ladder, and you should check him & his crew out as they release their latest album, “Aeroplane Mode.”

This current album with his current ensemble, The Northstars – is Matton’s 30th over the course of his career, and he continues to deftly mine the earth of power pop and roots rock that he knows well. The band dips in and out of psychedelia, creating a swirling, floating vibe.

Maybe it’s the recent passing of Tom Petty, but “Walk Among Us” hits like Petty’s “Running Down a Dream.” Album opener “Castles” uses Northstar Ryan Young’s violin like a pedal steel. “End of the Night” just rocks and speaks to anyone who’s really love music and stayed at the show through the last song then spent the rest of the night drinking and smoking (and making more music) with friends.

While Mattson’s vocals and guitar work are the center of the show, he’s surrounded himself with an all-star band. Germaine Gemberling (a sterling singer/songwriter in her own right) contributes stellar harmony vocals and the rhythm section of Kyle Westrick (bass) and Curtis Mattson (drums) powers these songs forward with depth and groove.

Rich Mattson & The Northstars evoke the loneliness of being creative, and the liberating feeling of collaboration and community. Rich has been a part of a ton of music in his career – Aeroplane Mode soars up among his best work.

— Atom Robinson, @atomrobinson

Preview the album here; pick up a copy at the Hook & Ladder on Saturday.

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