Throughout his precarious northern New Hampshire youth, Matt Pond was often photographed without trousers, stumbling along the icy mountain runoff and over snow-flecked grass, a loyal and ferocious black-and-white Rough Collie half-heartedly giving chase. The years passed. The film flickered but mostly stayed static until, in Philadelphia in ’98, he put the headphones over his ears and first listened to ELO. It was a lightening-bolt-for-one: the strings, they said everything. That’s when the electronic orchestration took hold. The songs started coming and they wouldn’t stop, reinforced by a battered Les Paul open-tuned like a dirty dulcimer.
From Philly, he took a Greyhound north and moved to New York. The song “New Hampshire” was written in an empty NYU apartment and would later show up through hand-covered eyes on The O.C. The next year there would be an appearance on Conan, followed by tours with Liz Phair, Ted Leo, Gomez, Rocky Votolato, Nickel Creek, Winter Sleep, Jimmy Eat World. Then on to headlining shows across the country, wildly swerving through the night and living out the cliched beauty expected of an upstanding rock and roll musician.
With a shifting cast of band members through the years, eleven full-length albums and countless EPs and singles to his name, Matt Pond eludes characterization in a way that is both unpresuming and larger than life. With longtime collaborator Chris Hansen on guitar and at the production helm, core band member Shawn Alpay’s cello and string arrangements, and contributions by an always notable assemblage of singers and musicians, Pond keeps building on a storyline whose conclusion, while unknown, is undeniably his own.