Matt Stell coming to Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Matt Stell coming to Walcott Truckers Jamboree

The Walcott Truckers Jamboree starts this week and one of the performers, singer-songwriter Matt Stell, spoke with Our Quad Cities News via Zoom about his new album, “Born Lonely,” and what he’s looking forward to when he visits Iowa.

For those who aren’t familiar with his work, Stell says he would describe it as country rock. “I have a lot of different influences from all different kinds of music, from alternative music, from the 90s, to country music stretching back from the beginning of country music to today.”

The new album is a departure from his other work. “It’s something I’m really proud of. I wrote this as a record, as opposed to a collection of singles, which is a little different for me and a lot of my favorite music is made that way. I like to consume music; I like to put an album on and listen to it. I feel like I had something to say that warranted making this record and we got done with it and I was proud of it. I’ve honestly been pretty blown away by the response to it too, it’s been great.”

Matt Stell (contributed photo)

Stell says the process is similar whether an artist is making a collection of songs or an album. “I’ve done it both ways and you can get great stuff both ways or you can get not great stuff both ways. I just happen to have more to say than one song. I started with one song that I was really proud of, called ‘Born Lonely’ and I just used that as a sort of compass point for this whole project. I was able to just tell some truth that I hadn’t really talked about before, whether that was about how I grew up, why I am the way I am, things I’ve seen and done good and bad both and I’m really excited about it.”

Fans who listen to “Born Lonely” will learn more about Stell and his background than they may have expected. “This is the most personal stuff that I’ve ever written. Some of it has to do with how I grew up being from a broken home and things like that, those experiences, those memories. You know, those feelings that can leave you kind of lonely. The point of this record was for folks who feel like that, to know that they’re not alone. We all feel that way, we all come from different circumstances but at the end of the day we’re all in this together.

Stell is excited to return to Iowa and perform at the Truckers’ Jamboree. “I’ve been to Iowa a bunch. I love it up there, especially this time of year, it’s great. I’ve been from Okoboji up north to Des Moines and Iowa City in the south and a bunch of places in between. I love Iowa, it’s been a great spot for us to play music for a long time so I’m pumped to get to the Walcott Trucker Jamboree.”

Stell has heard only good things about the Jamboree. “As a matter of fact, last year I think it was either last year or the year before, Shenandoah might have been playing there. We were playing a festival with them right before then and they were telling us about this show they were headed up there to play it and told us about how fun it was, so I’ve been excited about it since we found out because they made it sounded like a great time.”

Touring the world showed Stell that people are people, no matter where they are. “I mean, to be honest with you, we play something like 150 dates a year all over the country, all over the world actually. Man it’s crazy, the kind of people you meet, the kind of stuff that you see. The one thing that’s crazy that you wouldn’t think about maybe is how much people have in common, from Poland when we’re over there playing for our military to the East and West Coast.”

“There’s country music fans all over and I’m always kind of thrown, I’m always kind of blown away by how much we all have in common, from big places to small places, whether it’s 1,000,000° outside and the bus AC quit working or it’s so cold that the locks on the bus on the trailer, we can’t get it open to get our guitars out. We held cigarette lighters to the locks to get them thawed out.”

Stell is performing at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville tonight and the crowd will have more than a few special faces. “We’re leaving here in a minute and playing the Grand Ole Opry tonight. I got a bunch of family in town, both my grandmas are here in town, my mom and stepmom but just a bunch of family. So we get to play the Opry, that’s always really special, going to play some songs off this record to the Opry for the first time.” Stell said playing in front of family isn’t the nerve-wracking experience you might think it would be. “It’s just kind of an excuse to get everybody together. I’m about five to six hours from Nashville, so you know, anytime that the family loads up and can make a trip, especially this many. My grandmother’s 95 and the other one is 91, so when they want to get out and travel and come see me, that’s always the best.”

Stell will perform on July 11, the first day of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree at 7 pm Click here for the event schedule. Click here for more information on Matt Stell, including videos and tour information.