BY PAUL HERRIDGE
The Southern Gazette
The 29-year-old is up for ‘Male Artist of the Year’ in a category that includes Mark Bragg, John Barry Cossar, Ian Foster, Chris Kirby and Sean Panting.
The awards ceremony will take place at the St. John’s Convention Centre Oct. 14.
“They’re all amazing musicians … I think there’s only one I haven’t shared a show with.
“They’re all musicians that I respect and I’ve got to know over the years.”
Despite his familiarity with his fellow nominees, Mr. Hare, who grew up in Grand Bank, said the nomination – his first – came as a complete surprise and acknowledged it was still sinking in Thursday.
“It’s a bit crazy to tell you the truth. I really didn’t expect it. I’m still not over it.
“I only found out about it (Wednesday) and it’s still kind of sitting with me and I’m trying to digest it.”
A programmer analyst at Memorial University by day, Mr. Hare is a veteran of the St. John’s music scene by night.
Moving to the city for school in 2000, he has spent over a decade playing around the city’s downtown, first with his band, ‘The Rents’, and as a solo acoustic act for the past year or so.
Earlier this year, Mr. Hare released a full-length studio album, ‘This Time Last Year’, his first solo recording. Recording the album, with Ian Foster and Jerry Stamp, both music scene veterans, he said it “just felt like the next step.”
Mr. Hare said ‘This Time Last Year’ is comprised of songs about love and relationships, which are the types of songs he himself really enjoys.
“It kind of got created as a little bit of a retrospective of just past events and things I’ve gone through. I write a lot about relationships between myself and other people, and relationships that other people have told me about, friends and that kind of thing.
“It’s a bit crazy to tell you the truth. I really didn’t expect it. I’m still not over it.” - – Matthew Hare
“It’s just kind of stuff that comes naturally. I always found that whenever I was writing songs, it was always something I had to get off my chest, or it was always something that was going on in my mind.
“I never really set out to write a song about a certain topic. It was always something that kind of meant something to me.”
Mr. Hare said he fell in love with the city’s music scene after arriving and wanted to be part of it. One of the first things he set about doing back then was to figure out whom the musicians and bands were and what venues were open to hosting live music.
One of the first people he played with when he got ‘The Rents’ together was Mr. Foster.
“St. John’s is one of those places. It seems like there’s no shortage of musicians. There’s never any shortage of music wherever you go.”
As big an influence as St. John’s has been, Grand Bank has also helped shape him musically. Mr. Hare was a regular with the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival for several summers.
Many people in his hometown will also remember his grandfather, Byatt Cumben, a noted accordion player, who passed away a couple of years ago.
“He spent his entire life with an accordion. I don’t think a day went by when he didn’t play the accordion. Everywhere he went he brought his accordion with him. He just rode his bike around town with his accordion in the basket.”