NPR logo
Sing
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111729770/111728944" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Matt Kanelos: Hope And An Unexpected Hymn

Matt Kanelos: Hope And An Unexpected Hymn

Sing
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111729770/111728944" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Despite the title of Matt Kanelos' debut album with The Smooth Maria, Silent Show, the New York singer-songwriter's music is actually quite rousing. Eventually, anyway: A jazz pianist who only recently taught himself guitar and began singing, Kanelos crafts tunes that sneak up on listeners — that begin harmlessly but ultimately overwhelm with the weight of their poignancy, sorrow and joy. His songs describe sad sacks, doomed love affairs and steady, resilient characters who never give up hope despite long odds.

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Sing"
  • Artist: Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria
  • CD: Silent Show
  • Genre: Rock
Matt Kanelos i

In "Sing," Matt Kanelos and The Smooth Maria tackle a weighty subject by finding its joy. hide caption

toggle caption
Matt Kanelos

In "Sing," Matt Kanelos and The Smooth Maria tackle a weighty subject by finding its joy.

The subjects of Silent Show's final track, "Sing," are a narrator and his gravely sick friend, who suffers from a disease that has rendered him or her deaf. Though advised to keep his distance, the narrator remains undeterred, insisting that he has "heard being sick heals" and wants to know "just how it feels." Over an increasingly urgent piano melody, Kanelos asks his friend to sing with him from his "brand-new book of church hymns." What follows is a pair of gorgeous renditions of the Protestant doxology, also known as "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow." The first features Kanelos solo, while the second has him backed by a full choir, including band members Joe Adamik, Ben Gallina and Kyle Sanna. The hymn is an unexpected twist: sad, wonderful and devastating.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.