High octane stuff...unique musical style and literate words performed with energy and passion. He must be a gas live. --fRoots Magazine, April 09
An anarchic, chaotic and hard to classify romp through the murkier depths of Matthew Simpkins' mind...the album is raw and authentic, passing through the blues and ragtime, but never lingering too long in any of them. The 'Reverend' title hints at the lyrics, which are sometimes apocalyptic, sometimes spiritual, sometimes just plain old Christian, but always riveting. --Acoustic Magazine, May 09
Equal parts Robert Johnson, Nick Cave and Mungo Jerry...skewed blues and rot-gut jugband swagger...a heady mix. --Rock 'n' Reel, March/April 09
About the Artist
Though the Reverend is not an ordained priest, his father, grandfather, grandmother and uncle are all priests or preachers and their committed and fiery performances inspired his musical style. The Reverend's uniquely dark and off-kilter take on folk, blues and gospel owes as much to the Old Testament, the bizarre folk tales and barren landscape of his native Suffolk, and some morbid family legends, as it does to his musical heroes. His formative musical experiences included travelling between Suffolk villages on the back of a tractor to play the fiddle with local morrismen, playing hymns and psalms on the organ at his father s church, and obsessing over the Stooges and Rolling Stones in raucous rock n roll bands. In response to a host of powerful visions and musical revelations the Reverend experienced in May and June 2008, he formed the Phantom Notes in July and recorded with them during August. Featuring members of free-folk pioneers the Dead Rat Orchestra and raucous mod band FuzzFace, the Phantom Notes count among their considerable number a tap dancer, a fiddler, a theremin player, a French horn player and a free-jazz saxophonist.