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The album title says it all. Ian Matthews latest release RAW is just that. Alone on acoustic guitar and piano for much of the 18-track album, Matthews’ intimacy transports the listener into his living room. Recorded live this is not a pitch perfect production, but instead an artist at his most authentic. RAW showcases Matthews’ vulnerability as a songwriter. On tracks of hope, yearning and dealing with the past, his lyrics are honest and powerful……Annie Reuter

One of the challenges of this raw, exposed approach is that it leaves him no hiding room. Without the cover of a full band and high-tech studio tricks, the artist becomes very exposed and very vulnerable. Today’s digital technology can fool some listeners into thinking that even the most pedestrian or generic songs are better than they actually are, but Matthews’ songs are not pedestrian or generic; this is a quality album, and Matthews has a lot going for him as a singer/ songwriter. Performing in an intimate unplugged environment can really bring out an artist’s shortcomings, and it isn’t a favourable environment to artists who offer style over substance. The rawness that Matthews and Wordley go for on RAW, however, brings out the fact that he is indeed an artist of substance and integrity. Matthews rises to the occasion on RAW, demonstrating that authenticity and intimacy can be positive things when the right artist is involved……….Alex Henderson …..4 stars