Mathew James Barker – Vocals, Guitar
Elizabeth Barker – Vocals on Track 03 – Hands

Water Music Bandcamp
Water Music Facebook
Hawk Moth Records Bandcamp
Hawk Moth Records Facebook

DOWNLOADS (Right Click and Save-As):
01 – Water Music – Somedays
02 – Water Music – Underdog
03 – Water Music – Hands

Director/Camera/Edit/Sound – Travis Button (travisbutton.com)
Produced by – Half Stop Sessions (halfstopsessions.com)

Oh, boy.  Where to start.  This session will forever live as one of the most memorable, fulfilling, and meaningful sessions I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating on.  Please take the time to read this post in full.

Matty Barker defines authenticity in every sense of the word and it shows with complete transparency under any one of the numerous monikers that he writes and records music, most notably Water Music.  His music occupies a space almost entirely its own, a cinematic world comprised of a man and his existence channeled through a vein of musicianship that is rarely encountered in the present and that without a doubt holds its own next to greats of the past.  Almost impossible to define without confinement, Water Music could impulsively be characterized as singer-songwriter, but demands something more of the genre as we know it today.  This songwriting feels different, it feels subconscious, a unity of word and sound so powerful, so familiar that it’s as if it has been transformed purely of raw emotion, it seemingly lacks any filter in its creation and delivery.  At its core it feels intentional yet effortless, so pure it could be nothing less than honest and truth.  Matty writes with candor that few of us are fearless enough to convey so sincerely, especially in the public eye as he does.  Before I ever even had the pleasure of meeting Matty and getting to know him over 3 short days back in May, I felt as if I knew him like a best friend, like a brother, as he selflessly lends us a piece of himself with every song he has ever produced.

I had wanted to shoot a session in this spot for the past year but really wanted it to be the right person, not just anyone.  I was moving from Topanga the following month and I knew this was the perfect fit and potentially my last chance to shoot here before I left.  Matty, his wife Beth, and I hiked up the short half mile or so into Tuna Canyon with our gear and beer about an hour out from sunset, Molly, my dog had joined us for the journey as well.  Once we found our spot with mountain and ocean views, we setup and dialed in the sound as the light had began to fall and turn gold.  I knew it was going to be perfect.  Matty played three songs (which you can download below) that spanned across his entire catalog and the performance was essentially flawless, a beautiful experience across the board.

After filming, we all sat drinking some beers and just enjoyed being on that mountain sharing the moment together talking about how special it was for all of us.  For me, I had just shared this experience with one of my favorite artists for a project that I hold more near and dear to my heart than anything I’ve ever done in my entire life as an artist and for them, it was a moment of clarity and light during a span of darkness.  It was no secret that in January 2015, Matty, Beth and the entire Hawk Moth family had endured the devastating loss of his sister, Jodi, to suicide.  His album “Ships” was written in dedication and memory to the life of his sister for whom he was still mourning as we sat on that mountain and talked about the greater impact of what we were doing up there.

Matty, with tears in his eyes, thanked me for inviting them to stay with me in Topanga and to collaborate on this project, he told me how much it meant for them to be there and that it was one of the greatest experiences of his life.  This was the first time it had really occurred to me on more than a surface level how special Half Stop Sessions is and why I started this project a short year ago.  I most definitely never thought in my wildest dreams that someone for whom I hold so much respect would tell me that this thing, this idea, this experience, had created a positive impact on their life, and contributed to their healing in such a difficult time.  I will forever remember that moment on the mountain as one of the most rewarding moments of my life, as an artist and as a person.

Now, I can sincerely call Matty a brother.

*words by Travis Button

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