Matt Hoffman debuts his album Take it on Our Shoulders Friday, September 28, at 8:00 PM at The Forge Publick House. Hoffman went to high school at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins and now resides in Denver with his wife and daughter. His new album represents the feelings he has as a child growing up in the southwest and portrays songs of hope for a more straightforward way of living. His muse is the nature of New Mexico and the imagery he recalls from a very tender age.
“When I was thinking of the name for the project, New Mexican paid homage to my roots. I just loved the state. I think the music that I am making, whether intentionally or not, almost sounds like a desert, the landscapes, and some of the terrain down there that I’m so familiar with.”
Matt did not rush this project. He took his time to write, record, and produce this album in his home studio. He did it with the support of his family and all the while giving birth to his daughter. His view of the world in that time-shifted to see things in a new way. A simpler way. He was reminded of his childhood and his values and what he wanted to leave in the world for future generations.
Matt says, “I sort of felt that I was in the Rat Race and I think there’s an element of sort of calling out the rat race in this album. Do we all need to sit in an office 50-60 hours a week to get benefits and retirment? Does that have to define us? I wanted to remember what it was like to dive into nature and feel something bigger than yourself. Some of those experiences where you get in touch with the landscape and history and some of the essential things about life can be really grounding. There’s certainly an element of that in probably every song in one way or another.”
Living in Denver as a musician has given him the perspective of the creative climate and what it takes to be a self-made artist in booming urban sprawl. These ideas are present in the album as well.
Matt discusses it, “There is a theme in the album that is kind of about how the middle class gets through college, acquires debt, and has to manage life. In Denver, for artists and creatives, it is just getting harder to get by. To make your art. To not have to worry about the rising cost of living. In my way, I wrote these songs addressing that. I wrote them about characters that may be experiencing this in one form or another.”
The political landscape is changing our country, and technology shapes our broader view of individuals. We often overlook that there are people who live life differently than us, or perhaps they came from a time where opportunities were limited, and incomes were based more on industry/factory type work. We are often quick to judge, label, and forget the people behind the opinions and topics.
“In the song Letters, it is a conversation between an older conservative coal miner and his young daughter. It is figuratively pointing out the generational differences. Someone young and liberal may say, ‘Let’s save the world and not have any coal mining,’ but the dad is a coal miner, and he has been all of his life. It is all he knows. He is going to finish out his life story as a miner. Today in the state of the country, we have an image of somebody on Facebook or online, and we don’t get in the same room and have dinner together to talk about the issues, the past, the person. We sort of write people off on assumptions from online and fight for our own sides and views.”