Tree of life
Orlando singer-songwriter Andy Matchett at the crossroads
Published: April 14, 2011
Andy Matchett & the Minks
with the Pauses, the Darling Cavaliers, Potsie
7 p.m. Saturday, April 16
House of Blues,
It’s lunchtime on a Thursday on Mills Avenue and a striking woman named Dinah holds local singer Andy Matchett’s hands in hers. She runs her fingers over his palms imperceptibly, her blonde hair tightly gathered in a ponytail that runs down her tanned neck. She relaxes when she finally looks into his eyes. No wonder: Matchett resembles the baby-faced Charlie Sheen of the ’80s. His slight grin gives her permission to give him the bad news.
“You’re lonely,” she says, clipping the last word off at the tail. Now that she’s allowed herself to be absorbed by him, she begins the job that Andy and I have come to her for. Dinah’s a psychic. Her office overflows with semi-spiritual tchotchkes – crystal balls, colored quartz, a Buddha statue. She’s survived 25 years at the same location without the need for a dog-and-pony show. She wears a crisp white polo shirt and watches the Food Network between clients. Matchett, despite his penchant for lyrics like, “When life needs me to screech through the tunnel to heaven / I won’t fear it,” has a cordial disregard for the supernatural. They’re perfect together.
Matchett can be something of a psychic himself. Outside Dinah’s office, he confidently tells me that I have a son and a daughter, and the son is older. He holds his hands up for a millisecond, as if receiving signals from the ether, then points to my car where a flowery baby seat and a blue, no-nonsense booster chair reveal themselves in the light. OK, he’s observant. Dinah said as much. “You pay attention to people,” she offered moments before, “but you give too much of yourself.” She must have heard his album.
Released last summer, Matchett’s debut full-length, The Apple Tree Circle, constituted a sea change for the 31-year-old husband and father of two. Growing up on, yes, Apple Tree Circle near Universal Studios, he never felt like he belonged in the college-rock world he admired (the standard suburban angst without a cause) and the feeling extended to his highly acclaimed Tallahassee band, Monorail. (He went to Florida State University.) Upon moving to Orlando, Matchett developed a reputation as a musical special guest-star, filling gaps where needed in his friends’ bands, including the now-defunct XOXO/Mother Night. In recent years, he says, he’s faced a creeping self-awareness regarding his station in life. He tries to balance his day job as a trucking company salesman with his nightlife on stage, but with a family to provide for, the latter seems less and less likely to sustain him. He remembers his parents at the same point in their lives. His father was a science fiction writer, his mother an artist. He remembers the turning point for them. It wasn’t pretty: They destroyed almost all of their work. Matchett saved one piece of his mother’s art. It hangs on his wall.
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