by Kelsey Haugen
Whether he’s with a group or performing solo, Matt Whipkey has a passion for writing and playing rock ‘n’ roll music. This Omaha singer/songwriter established a band called The Whipkey Three and they recently finished their new album, Two Truths, which is made up of some rockin’ tunes as well as a few ballads.
Hear Nebraska: Tell me a little about the genre or style of your music.
Matt Whipkey: It’s rock ‘n’ roll, which is kind of general. We’ve been classified as Americana, American rock ‘n’ roll, etc. We put on high-energy shows with heavier numbers but also some ballads.
HN: How do you think your style has changed over the years?
MW: Over the last decade, if anything, we’ve taken on a sound that is our own. We definitely have our influences, but everything we do really comes out sounding like us. It’s a great place to be as a musician. It’s good to have a recognizable sound as your identity.
HN: You have a new album with The Whipkey Three, Two Truths, coming out on Saturday. What’s your favorite song off of this CD?
MW: When you make these things, you spend so much time on them, and it’s hard to pick just one, but “Reagan Era” is one of my personal favorites and also “Two Truths.” I think I’m happiest with the way “Two Truths” came out. That’s a song I wrote and enjoyed but since recording it and fine-tuning it, it’s really become one of my favorites.
HN: “Reagan Era” has a much softer tone than “Two Truths.” Do you think the overall album fits your general genre of rock ‘n’ roll?
MW: Yes, there’s one other kind of ballad, if you will, but the rest are pretty rockin’. I would say the album is 70 percent rocker and 30 percent mid-tempo.
HN: What was it like going from a solo album, Instant Heart, to creating "Two Truths" with The Whipkey Three? How do the albums differ?
MW: Instant Heart is very much a more acoustic-based, songwriter album. It was recorded completely on a four-track cassette recording machine, which is very different from the modern studio environment. I love that style of music.
However, with Two Truths, I wanted to make a loud rock album. The songs on Two Truths needed the professional studio rock treatment to display their full potential. It was great to really bring these songs to life in that environment.
HN: What inspired you when writing the song "Two Truths" for the album?
MW: "Two Truths" is a song that is advice to a friend facing some hard decisions in their life. The lyrics came quickly and I am still growing with it and learning from it. Sometimes a song is like that — you may not realize the full meaning of what you wrote until years later. Other songs such as “Maria” and “California Zephyr” are true to life, while others, well, I'll never tell.
HN: What is your favorite thing about performing songs from the Two Truths album?
MW: Since recording the album, fully composing the solos and really tightening the songs, it has been a blast playing it live. It carries a huge power when on stage.
HN: What are you most excited about with this new CD?
MW: I think we’re all very proud of it and how it sounds. The packaging is really cool, too. I’m invested in every facet you can be invested in when it comes to the process. To see people’s reactions is also very exciting. We’ve seen reactions live, but we want to see people’s reactions to hearing the whole thing.
HN: What are you looking forward to about the album release on Saturday?
MW: We’re going to have our producer sit in and play keyboards with us, which is always a lot of fun. I’m just excited to sell it people. We’ve put a lot into promoting it, and we want to see that effort pay off. Hopefully, a nice-sized crowd and a cool album. It should be a festive evening all around.
Kelsey Haugen is a Hear Nebraska intern. She likes Jersey Shore, and she now knows what happens when she doesn't write her own tagline. Reach her at email@example.com.