MOKB Sun King Concert Series
1043 Virginia Ave #215
Indianapolis, IN, 46203
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
A self-made singer/songwriter, Matt Wertz spent years creating soulful, feel-good pop music on his own terms. Nashville — a city that doubled as his muse and adopted hometown — always played a big role in that creation process. It was the place where Wertz wrote his songs, the place he recorded his albums, the place he'd return after touring the country with songwriters like Jason Mraz, Maroon 5, Parachute and Gavin DeGraw.
Something changed after 2014's Heatwave, a record that shone a neon light on Wertz's appreciation for '80s pop music. Wertz realized he'd grown perhaps a bit too comfortable in Nashville, where he'd been making music for more than a decade. Looking to write an album that tackled contemporary pop music from a different angle — literally — he headed to Los Angeles, where he spent several months writing songs for his ninth album, Gun Shy. Fueled by infectious, 90’s-inspired beats, lush textures, and soaring air-tight pop melodies, Gun Shy fires twin barrels of modern pop and synthesized R&B, finding new life in old-school influences.
"I realized I'd been making records in a similar way in the same geographic area," Wertz admits, "and I wanted to get away from that comfort zone. I personally was needing a fresh approach — to pull the clip on the grenade and blow things up and start over. I'm a fan of current pop music, and L.A. is very much about what's happening now. I wanted to see how my music fit into that space."
Filled with left-field love songs about guarding yourself, opening your heart to new possibilities, and wrestling with the sacrifice and vulnerability that love requires of everyone, Gun Shy finds Wertz urging his listeners — and, perhaps, himself — to continue taking leaps. It's an album about stepping into unfamiliar situations, armed with the courage to fail and the drive to succeed. On "Committed," the album's kickoff track, Wertz rededicates himself to the artistic struggle, and with "Slow Motion," he focuses his attention on a loved one by clearing away the clutter and distractions of everyday life. Later, during "Hold On To Me," he channels his inner Michael Jackson on a song that poses some of the biggest questions of his career: why we're here, who put us there, and what it all means. A longtime member of Nashville's songwriting community, Wertz teams up with some of L.A.'s A-list pop writers for Gun Shy, including Ian Keaggy (Hot Chelle Rae, Cody Simpson), Ben Romans (The Click Five, Carly Rae Jepsen), and Seth Jones (Greg Holden, Tyler Bryant).
More than a decade into a career filled with commercial success and touring milestones, Matt Wertz remains proud to be an independent singer/songwriter. But don't mistake Gun Shy for the sort of intimate album you'd hear at your local coffee shop. These are not acoustic guitar songs. They're songs built on laptops and driven forward by dance beats. Songs that move you physically and emotionally. Songs that splash Wertz's super-sized hooks across the backdrop of the Los Angeles skyline, creating their own brand of scenery along the way.
It's called 'chemistry', an elusive quality that can be part history, part mystery and all intangible until the moment that you feel it. It's a meant-to-be melding of the emotional and creative that can happen between songwriters, performers, best friends or life partners. For Josh and Nicole Johnson – the duo Elenowen – that connection is all of the above and much more. The chemistry they share is as rare – and real – as it gets.
Though emerging from the same Nashville-based Americana-folk scene as The Civil Wars, Elenowen deliver a sonic glow all their own. Amidst haunting harmonies and elegiac lyrics, their songs flow with an undercurrent of yearning, surrender and unexpectedly sharp edges. The sound itself is roots-driven. Even the name Elenowen is an authentic nod to heritage, with Ellen being Josh's mom's middle name and Owen being the middle name of Nicole's dad. "They're the sides of the family we each got our music from," explains Josh. "What's in our hearts will always come out in what we do."
With their original songs providing the backdrop to pivotal moments on popular television shows - including NBC's Revolution, CW's Pretty Little Liars, Lifetime's Army Wives, CW's One Tree Hill, and MTV's World of Jenks - Elenowen are discovering that the truth of what they do is bringing them new fans nationwide. In the midst of writing and recording for their upcoming album, they hit the road in the spring of 2013 on their first headlining tour, The Drifting Closer Tour, which stopped in over 20 cities nationwide. This fall, they will travel across the country and share the stage with artists like singer/songwriter Matt Wertz and rock band, Green River Ordinance.
But what about that thing called chemistry? For Elenowen, it's a one-of-a-kind formula that is about to become bigger than the both of them.
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