Imagine if Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett hadn't melted down but developed into an accomplished multi-instrumentalist/solo artist. Meet Matt Leonard Price. This British acoustic guitarist/pianist/poet, best known for his work with band Harrison in the 80's, presents a movingly heartfelt little disc full of gentle gems. Sleeping Pill Mannequin does not rock, but it's far from slumber inducing. Prepare to be intimately charmed. 13.5/16 [very good] (Progression, No 62, Autumn 2011)
Anyone missing the gentle, pastoral musings of Syd Barrett or Nick Drake will surely warm to the second self-produced outing from this singer-songwriter. There's an ever-so-English quality running through serenely paced nylon string and piano-led songs on offer, comprising 11 originals plus a resetting of lines by A E Housman. The title track showcases the cracked vulnerability of Price's voice, 'Short Lived' conjures the more focused moments of The Incredible String Band, and 'Sister Eva' revives the more contemporary spirits of Blur and Paul Weller. If Ratty and Mole went boating through Virginia Water in 1967, this would be on the portable Dansette.
(Acoustic, No 44, August 2010)
MLP (if that is how we should abbreviate him) plays a singer-songwriter style with guitar and piano, plus a bucket of restrained background instruments from accordion to old school Hammond organ... the whole thing making a lovely, fairly quiet but never bland parade of intelligent music. People who like well-crafted lyrics and pathos will find plenty to like... A great CD. (Amazon user 2010)
It's difficult to give an accurate description of Matt's work as it's so original. The songs, broadly acoustic and without drums, are honest and heartfelt, moving and entertaining. Some bring tears to your eyes while others put a smile on your face. Matt plays acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards to add to his great voice. (Fatea Magazine, 2010)
Here are two more sides to Matt...
Hello. I'm a self-taught musician/songwriter, and I've been writing and singing my own material all my life. When I was 14 years old I entered a regional composition competition open to all ages and won First Prize, which really surprised me.
Through my school years I was in a few rock bands, never doing cover versions, only original stuff. That was fun. I recorded a few songs onto cassette when I was about 16 by sellotaping a crummy old condenser mic onto the music stand of the piano at home.
My first response from the record industry came a bit later when I was 18: Le Beat Route Records London, impressed by a demo cassette, sent their man by taxi to my mum and dad's house (we lived about 100 miles north of London!) to discuss a possible recording contract. Sadly this never came about but, excited by the possibility, I quickly founded a new band with some old school friends. This later developed into the indie band Harrison.
After a couple of years on the road, gigging around the country, Harrison received some favourable attention, first from Chrysalis and then from CBS, both of whom paid for studio time and proposed substantial development deals. Muff Winwood of CBS even made the journey to see Harrison play a gig in my Midlands hometown.
Harrison's perennial and now (apparently) collectable 45rpm "There is No Refrain" B/W "Simply This" was recorded in Birmingham's Sinewave Studios and cut by Mayking Records. It received plays and praise on the John Peel radio show in the mid 80s. But not long after that Harrison unfortunately disbanded.
I continued writing and recording lots of new songs, and sent a string of demos to A&R departments. I even built a low budget, tin shed recording studio for the purpose. Loads of songs were sent out, but they either came back with the "dear Matt, thanks, but..." letter, or were never seen again.
Recently I've written loads more songs and recorded a few CDs - released under my own independent label Riverhead. Some of the songs can be heard on this site or on my Soundcloud page.
In addition to songwriting, I've composed music for stage productions and video, and have written a short dramatic text which was performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in October 2004. Over the years, I've also had some of my poetry published in notable journals (Verse, Understanding, Orbis, Poetry Nottingham, etc.).
Well that's the story so far. Thanks for taking time to read it.