Full Rig Details: https://bit.ly/SuperwolvesRR
Matt Sweeney doesn’t want to dazzle you with rock guitar. That’s boring. That’s lazy. At least to him. He wants to mesmerize you.
“Really, that’s the point of music: to get people’s minds off of whatever and to hypnotize them a little bit,” Sweeney told PG in 2021. After beginning his Superwolves collaboration with Will Oldham, “that’s when I thought, ‘Cool, I did the thing that I wanted to do. I can fingerpick now and I can play with a really great singer who is working in an idiom that I hadn’t worked in before.’
“I started playing with Will and that gave me the opportunity to keep developing the way that I was playing, because it went well with his singing. After a couple of years, that led to Will suggesting that we write songs together.”
The audible opiate that Sweeney provides has also cast his spell over the works of Rick Rubin, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Adele, Cat Power, Run the Jewels, Chavez, John Legend, Zwan (collaboration with Billy Corgan), Tinariwen, “Cowboy” Jack Clement, Billy Gibbons, and Margo Price. And with every episode of hypnosis comes a trance-breaking snapback. Providing that rhythmic recoil is Sweeney’s current foil, Emmett Kelly. Both have worked with Oldham, but until now—in the current Superwolves line-up—never together.
Kelly steps into the fold with an indie and outsiders Rolodex filled with names like Ty Segall, Angel Olson, Azita, Cairo Gang, Mikal Cronin, The C.I.A., Earth Girl Helen Brown, Magic Trick, Doug Paisley, and Joan of Arc. Sweeney sums up their guitar-nership with his typical, sly-and-dry snark: “What’s important about the way me and Emmett play together is that we never talk about it [laughs]. It’s true! He’s like the best guitar player. He’s a master at making everything sound better. We’ve both worked together—but mostly separately—with our singer Will Oldham, and it was his suggestion that we should all go out together [without bass and drums] because it should be good. But really, we’ve never had to talk about it, and we just play. It’s been a lot of fun.”
So, when PG’s Chris Kies recently connected with Sweeney and Kelly, they were providing a guitar backdrop for a headlining set fronted by Bonnie “Prince” Billy Oldham at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge, supporting Sweeney and Billy’s 2021 release, Superwolves. While the conversation with both does cover their spartan setups, the meat of the message is how gear is a tool for storytelling, humility, and liberation. Oh … but Kelly does reveal a Japanese gem that takes a guitar signal and reanimates it into anime speech-like phrases!