‘Bleakly beautiful.’ UNCUT **** | ‘The Loner shines.’ DAILY MIRROR **** | ‘Works of wonder’ R2 **** | ‘Possibly the most important record of the year. 5 out of 5’ MAVERICK | ‘An anthem for resistance – 10 out of 10’ AMERICANA UK
Quiet Loner is the pen-name of singer-songwriter Matt Hill.
Combining skillful flatpicking with lyrical wordplay, his albums have been praised for their emotional qualities, their honesty and the way they connect with the listener. Inspired by the storytelling traditions of folk and country music, Hill brings a contemporary element to these traditional forms. Over 15 years, 4 albums and hundreds of performances Hill has gained a reputation as an understated yet powerful solo performer delivering a live show that is emotional, political, occasionally angry but nearly always gentle and human.
For the duration of 2016 Hill was 'songwriter-in-residence' at the People's History Museum in Manchester, resulting in a touring show (and album) 'The Battle for the Ballot' that tells the story of the fight for the right to vote. He's taken the show to venues and festivals across the country.
As an artist Hill is always experimenting to find new ways to present his songs - he uses slide shows and a lecture format, he's collaborated with walking artist Morag Rose to create musical walks that explore radical history and surveillance, he's exhibited a song in a gallery exhibition, he's collaborated on a live show about working class history with poet Tony Walsh, he's co-written a musical about surveillance, he delivers songwriting workshops and a few years ago even devised a variety/game show format for a song residency.
This constant need for evolution as an artist has been reflected in his own recorded output. His debut album was a country heartbreaker and was voted Americana UK Album of the Year 2004. His second album Spectrology (2010) enlisted some top British folk musicians and got 4-star reviews from the likes of Uncut and The Daily Mirror and radio play from Gideon Coe on BBC6 Music. His third ‘Greedy Magicians’ - a very personal and political album - was recorded live in a Salford chapel and took him in a more English folk direction. This led to Hill being invited by Billy Bragg to perform on the Leftfield stage at 2013 Glastonbury Festival where he appeared in a songwriters circle alongside Bragg and Amanda Palmer. In 2017 he was invited to showcase his work at the English Folk Expo.
Since 2014 Hill has been curator and organiser of The Defiance Sessions one of the few regular music nights in the UK dedicated to songwriting that has a political or conscientious aspect. In 2015 he was one of the five musicians who founded 'We Shall Overcome' an anti-austerity movement that aims to show support and solidarity with those in local communities hit by cuts, poverty and homelessness.
REVIEWS OF QUIET LONER
Hill is a canny story teller and although he is a Folk Singer at heart, he has a very contemporary style making these tales very listenable indeed. If Matt Hill never writes or sings another song ever again he can die a happy man for creating this masterpiece.
ROCKING MAGPIE MUSIC BLOG
A reminder of the song writing powers of Matt Hill. A brilliant evocation of the fight for British democracy. It’s Hill at his most passionate and inflamed. It made me feel humble and inspired.
AMERICANA UK 8/10
Quiet Loner shows that you can turn feelings of anger and despair into warm and uplifting music. With a mix of humour, sadness and anger, he gets the tone spot-on. A superb album. Evoking an authentic spirit of English folk music.
PENNY BLACK MUSIC
I was knocked sideways. This isn’t your average ‘protest album’ as Matt Hill never gets angry and his voice is a soft and sweet as a wine gum. Possibly the most important record of the year
MAVERICK MAGAZINE 5/5
The wordplay is pure Costello. Delicate songwriting, with hints of folk and Americana. Bleakly beautiful.
He gathers his songs around him and weaves them into works of wonder
ROCK N REEL R2 4/5