2009 release from the American singer/songwriter, the follow-up to his hit album Nothing Left to Lose. City Of Black & White is an album informed by the traveling, performing and adventuring the Oregon-born, Nashville-base... more »d singer did while supporting that breakthrough album. An open-hearted album of self-discovery, City of Black & White is a chronicle of the people he met and missed during that journey. Musically, it's an upping of the ante, laced with hooks and rhythms that are meant to sneak up on you quietly and quickly, en route to winning your love.« less
2009 release from the American singer/songwriter, the follow-up to his hit album Nothing Left to Lose. City Of Black & White is an album informed by the traveling, performing and adventuring the Oregon-born, Nashville-based singer did while supporting that breakthrough album. An open-hearted album of self-discovery, City of Black & White is a chronicle of the people he met and missed during that journey. Musically, it's an upping of the ante, laced with hooks and rhythms that are meant to sneak up on you quietly and quickly, en route to winning your love.
Lance G. Augustine | The Midwest, USA | 05/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While there are a lot of similarities AND differences between Mat Kearney's City Of Black & White and his 2006 hit album Nothing Left To Lose, Mat has managed to produce a record that is sure to please a good majority of fans even though there really isn't anything ground-breaking or 'shockingly' cutting-edge here. Kearney ditched the 'rapping' that was interspersed throughout many of the songs on NLTL and polishes up the rough-around-the-edges nature of that album in favor of straightforward, mainly mid-tempo, radio-ready tunes as well as plenty of ballads or slower songs on the back half of the line-up.
He lets his captivating voice do the 'talking' this time around, keeping a similar slower-phrased singing style from that previous effort, and showcasing even more of his melodic, mellow, intimate nature. However, you won't find the 'extremes' of NLTL on City Of Black & White...no "Girl America"-type songs, and nothing quite as powerfully passionate as "What's A Boy To Do", "All I Need", or "Won't Back Down".
As soon as the first song ("All I Have") starts playing, you'll hear familiar melodies that will remind you of certain tracks from NLTL, and yet these songs seem to have great structure overall and solid backup instrumentation...a tighter, polished sound that's likely to yield several hits, including the first single, "Closer To Love". That song as well as "Fire And Rain" and "Lifeline", for example, have enough 'energy' to them to hit the Adult Contemporary rock crowd right between the ears...these songs are so strong from top to bottom its difficult for me to pick favorites. You still get passionate balladry with songs like the piano-based "New York To California" and the acoustic-guitar based "On And On", and I can't name one 'bad' song on the album. Overall, a very pleasing effort from Mat."
Here We Go on a Runaway Car from New York To California
Flap Jackson | State Road, NC | 06/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rewind to Christian Radio circa 2004 and you'd hear the Oregon boys, which consisted of Shawn McDonald, Paul Wright, and Mat Kearney, all of which hit the radio at the same time, all had strong debuts, and all happened to hail from Oregon. Kearney was probably the most original of the bunch, providing a great mix of acoustic hip-hop, mixed with pop and rock. He soon got noticed and he released an album which was noticeably poppier, but contained some of his old track. Some of the new stuff wasn't that great, but Grey's Anatomy loved it, and he took off. Some three years later, five if you're counting his last fully-original album, and Mat is back to show us what he's got. The result is Coldplay + The Fray.
Highlights Include: All I Have Closer To Love Here We go Runaway Car Straight Away
The album is a solid listen, especially on the first half of the album, combining the usual singer-songwriter pop, mixed with more atmospheric elements, giving the album a complete sound. And while it's different stylistically from his debut, it's still a great sound. The only problem is it starts faltering towards the back-half. "New York to California" is pretty cheesy with lyrics like, "I'd build a bridge through the fire. For you I'd crawl from New York to California." Wow, that's pretty standard 80s-type cheese there. In fact, the album has a 80s pop feel to it, which I find kind of strange.
Overall, "City of Black & White" is pretty black and white in terms of originality, but Mat does a great job with the music and lyrics. The first half is excellent, and some of the songs on the back-half fall off the wagon. If anything, this album will increase Kearney's profile in the music world, which is evident when I see signs for Mat Kearney playing with Keane at Radio City Music Hall. So I'd say Kearney's done pretty well for himself, and deservedly so."
Mat Kearney [City of Black & White]
Kevin R. Davis | Perkasie, PA | 05/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following the success of his major label debut, "Nothing Left To Lose", Mat Kearney has returned with an evolved sound and a world of new experiences. Three years later, and thanks in large part to VH1--which kept "Nothing Left to Lose" in rotation for 45 consecutive weeks, an open-hearted album of self-discovery, "City of Black & White" is a chronicle of the people he met and missed during that journey.
In fact, the first song "All I Want" begins with the lyrics "Here we go at it three years later, Will you help me to dream it all up again". I really enjoyed "Nothing Left To Lose" and the musical diversity and catchy lyrical style. I would describe Mat's style as a great mix of Jack Johnson, The Fray, Matthew West and Brandon Heath, which are among my favorite artists. "All I Want" is one of the catchy standout songs on the album and is a great way to start off the album. "Fire And Rain" is another nice upbeat song. Hit single "Closer To Love" is my favorite overall song on the album. Overall, it reminded me of Brandon Heath's award-winning "Give Me Your Eyes" musically. The album lacks strong spiritual messages and reminds me more of a Jack Johnson album relative to the number of songs about relationships such as "Here We Go" and "New York To California" which are nice songs and also both remind me of "London" by Brandon Heath.
Unlike Matthew West and Mat's last album, I was disappointed that this album is a tad mellow overall and lacks any urban style musically or lyrically. The album is a nice listen and includes several memorable songs including "Annie" and the closing song "City Of Black & White".
If you liked "Wait And See" by Brandon Heath and "Something To Say" by Matthew West, you'll like the musical style of this album, but lyrically it is much more like "The Fray" by The Fray and "Sleeping Through The Static" by Jack Johnson."
Rich voice, earnest lyrics!
Spencer | San Diego | 03/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very original songs and he sounds very sincere and earnest. Mat has a warm rich vocal and he's pitch perfect. The texture of his voice is pleasant by itself, kind of raspy but it's good to these soft rock ballads. A voice to die for when you had a hard day at work!"