Matthew Barlow bids farewell with Tidal Light concert
Rimrock area guitar plays twice before he and wife move to Pennsylvania
For the last five years, Rimrock resident Matthew Barlow has graced the stages around Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Barlow has played guitar with the worship band at Beaver Creek Church on Sundays for 2½ years. He was one of the founding members of the theatrical rock 'n' rock band Yin Yang & Zen Some and has been driving force of his own project, Tidal Light since he moved to Arizona.
Now, the beloved musician and his wife, Martha Barlow, are preparing to depart Northern Arizona. The couple is moving to Pennsylvania at the end of June.
To bid farewell to his fans and friends, Barlow will join with fellow musicians Kelly Cole, Lou Moretti and Dylan Jung for two final Tidal Light shows.
On Thursday, June 12, Barlow and Cole will play an acoustic set at Ravenheart Coffee Co., 1370 W. Hwy. 89A, Suite 12, West Sedona.
On Friday, June 13 at 9 p.m., the foursome plays at Oak Creek Brewing Co., 2070 Yavapai Drive, West Sedona. Opening the show is Flagstaff-based alt-country band Luminaria.
"I wrote all the material from the beginning of this year. It's pretty brand new stuff," he said.
While Barlow's earlier incarnations of Tidal Light featured an instrumentally focused, ambient sound, the new music is more lyrically driven.
"Now that I've gotten back to writing lyrics and writing songs, I've gotten back to writing melody," Barlow said.
"We've kind of restructured it; we're more focused on songs than on instruments," he said.
These new songs carry on Tidal Light's signature simplicity that imbues the music with a certain serenity, Barlow said.
Barlow stated that he chose the name Tidal Light because his musical imagination is like water - moving, shifting and changing; and, just as light illuminates, his heart and passion give light and direction to his creativity.
Barlow draws from many various genres of music: folk, post-rock, blues, country, ambient, he stated, but only as colors to paint songs that aren't confined to a specific style.
"For the show on Friday, the first set is songs with spiritual expression," Barlow said. "I've really kind of tapped into my Christian faith."
"I have no 'religion agenda' in these songs. I'm not saying you have to believe what I believe," he said. "I'm just expressing spiritual reverences to God."
"Whether you're Christian or not, I hope listeners can appreciate that reverence for God" Barlow said.
The second set contains songs "like any normal songwriter would write," he said.
"We have a few songs that we do by Bob Dylan. And we'll be doing two of Kelly Cole's songs."
Cole and Barlow first met about five years ago and started Midnight Children, a musical project that lasted about a year.
"Probably one of our biggest strengths is being on the same musical wavelength in our vocals," Barlow said of Cole. "Our vocals are something that stands out in our music right now."
As a guitarist and vocalist with the band, Cole said that she brings texture and depth to the vocal parts of Tidal Light's song.
"Guitarwise, I bring very subtle nuances," she said. "I'm playing lead guitar, but the leads are pretty sparse."
Barlow said he asked Jung and Moretti to play with him out of a mutual admiration for their talents.
"I like and respected what he [Jung] does musically on his bass I just wanted him to be involved in this project," Barlow said. "I would say the same thing of Lou."
"With Tidal Light, I really try to a supporting role, but it differs in the sense that I really get creative expression," Jung said. "I think everybody gets that in the band."
"I'm just another supporting factor to the overall songs," Moretti said.
"Kelly, Dylan, Lou and I - we've been friends for a long time, and this is our last shot at doing music together before going our separate ways," Barlow said.
"Even though a majority are my songs, and I'm the frontman of the band, so to speak, I really consider it and honor and privilege to play with Kelly, Dylan and Lou," Barlow said. "I don't see it as them playing with me, but me playing with them."
"That warmth of friendship really comes through in the music. A kindness and comfort for other people to see," he said.
The musicians of Tidal Light are also going to miss Barlow as both a musical colleague and friend.
"Matt has been been my musical partner since I moved here five years ago," Cole said. "We speak this common language when we play together and when we write together."
"Out of our musical relationship, we've also developed a friendship, so I'm going to miss that a lot," Cole said.
"We've done so many projects together and seen each other's evolution," Jung said of Barlow. "The collaboration with him is always such a smooth, easygoing process. I'll miss that."
"He's by far one my most favorite musicians I've ever, Moretti said.
"Playing music with him - it's all about fun but it's got a lot of heart to it. Matt cares more about the overall song than he does about the details," he said.
"And the fact that this is our last time to play together, yes, I'm going to miss him," Moretti said. "He's also one of my absolutely favorite people."