Saturdays are cleaning days around our house, and, as everyone knows, cleaning always goes better with music. Before starting on the kitchen, I turned on Spotify and started playing Mat Kearney, like I have many times before. For the last five years, he has been my go-to cleaning music.
I remember the first Mat Kearney song I ever heard, before he was one of my favorite artists: it was Nothing Left To Lose, and I listened to it all the time in my freshman dorm. In the fall of 2008, I didn’t bother looking into other songs he had written, because Nothing Left To Lose seemed to sum up all I really needed then. The throwing caution to the wind, looking for an adventure feeling fit well with beginning college. Over the next three years, I listened to Nothing Left To Lose off and on in between classes but never looked further into his music.
It wasn’t until the fall of my senior year when my roommate showed me Ships in the Night from Mat Kearney’s album Young Love. That song was the first one to encourage me to pursue the rest of his music. By March 2012, I owned all three of his albums, Nothing Left to Lose, City of Black and White, and Young Love. Although I am not an exclusive Mat Kearney fan, many of his songs are connected to specific parts of my life. Listening to those songs reminds of those moments.
Like Count on Me, which my best friend and I listened to in the car on our way to her wedding.
And Fire and Rain for the summer after I graduated college.
A song that has always resonated with me is Learning to Love Again, although I never know if people get why it’s such a big deal to me.
One summer, I went running with another Mat Kearney fan, who enjoyed the song Down. While that song was never one of my favorites, it must have spoken to my friend.
There was the outdoor concert I went to in Pittsburgh, where Mat Kearney opened for Train. My friend and I sat on the lawn outside the venue listening, because we couldn’t afford the tickets.
One time, I saw another friend post a Facebook status about being encouraged by Sooner or Later, and I understood.
And today, as I cleaned, I moved to his newest album, Just Kids. There’s something about the songs that just gets me moving, and even my husband joined me for Billion. It seemed especially appropriate, dancing around our tiny kitchen as newlyweds. I’ll probably always connect Billion to this part of my life, and when Mat Kearney comes out with his next album, you can be sure I’ll be listening to that, too.