“My music has always been inspired by experiences I’ve had as a husband and father,” explained musician Matt Miskie.
It’s not hard to feel this inspiration in his new album of original songs “Rooms of Love,” on which Miskie, primarily a guitarist and vocalist, played all the instruments heard.
The 11 tracks on the album showcase Miskie’s sincere, folk rock and singer songwriter oriented style. Songs like “Cumberland & 8th” and “The 8:16” highlight his experiential approach to songwriting.
The musician will be performing his originals at a CD release show at The Porch in Myerstown on Friday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.
Though Miskie has “lived all over Pa.,” including stints in Easton, Reading, Pittsburgh and Somerset, he decided to settle down in Cleona.
“I’ve lived in Lebanon County since the mid-80s,” he said.
Growing up in Wilmington, Dela., Miskie was surrounded by music. His mother, he recalled, was an excellent pianist and musician.
“My mom taught me to harmonize when I was around 4 years old,” he said.
Miskie’s maternal grandfather was also a professional musician, which served as inspiration.
“He had some really cool string instruments from the Eastern European tradition,” said Miskie.
When his family moved to Reading, Miskie purchased a guitar with S&H trading stamps and taught himself.
“The guitar was so horrible, but I wanted to learn so badly that I stuck with it,” he said.
He continued to play with bands and as a solo artist, but began to slow down his gigging as his family grew. Then, his son Ed was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was between 2011 and 2012, and in the spring of 2012, I spent a lot of time in the hospital with Ed,”
During his time in the hospital, his son started his own online business. Miskie cited his son’s venture as an inspiration behind his own decision to start playing shows again.
He started off this phase of his career at local venues like 10,000 Villages in Ephrata and The Porch.
“The Porch does all original music and supports local and original artists,” Miskie said.
In his first year, the musician performed about 30 gigs. By the next year, the number had doubled and continued to grow.
“Last year I did probably about 120 gigs,” said Miskie.
These included venues and festivals throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
Miskie self-recorded his previous album of originals “A Bend in the River” in 2013, and he decided to take the same approach with “Rooms of Love.” His writing process, he explained, is not always straightforward.
“I’ll play the guitar, I’ll get a riff going and there might be a suggestion of lyrics. Or I might have a lyric suggestion in my head, and that dictates the chords,” the guitarist said.
His next step is to find the right tempo and record a first take. Then he begins adding more instruments, and the song takes shape.
“You really have to be totally honest with yourself,” said Miskie, adding that “a few tracks didn’t make the cut.”
“You really have to pay attention to the details. Does the album tell some sort of story or theme?” he said.
At this point, he explained, he often recruits the ears of friends and family to guide his decisions.
Once he has the track order down and the final takes recorded, he sends them out for mastering and decides how the final product will be made, sold and marketed.
“In the meantime, I’m content to play gigs for local audiences,” said Miskie.
In the end, this personal attention leads to a personal product.
“This is really about experiences my family has had over the past four years,” Miskie said of the album.
For a full list of Miskie’s numerous CD release shows, concerts, festival appearances and merchandise, visit mattmiskie.com.