‘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 songwriter Matt Hill, currently 'songwriter in residence' at the People's History Museum in Manchester.
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. 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 American folk and country music but with a distinctly British lyrical bite, his debut album was voted Americana UK Album of the Year 2004. His second album Spectrology (2010) topped the Americana UK album chart 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 - 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.
Parallel to the cycle of gigs and albums Quiet loner has developed a niche as a storyteller, combining songs and stories with powerpoint slides into themed live shows suitable for theatre, festivals and arts venues. Both entertaining and powerfully moving, this format reveals another side to Hill beyond the songs. His show about CCTV - Quiet Loner Under Surveillance- was performed at 2009 Shambala Festival and another, about the personal awakening that led to making a protest album, was programmed by the People's History Museum in Manchester as part of an 'Art of Protest' festival in 2013.
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.
In 2015 his collaboration with singer Steve Roberts, 2084 - Songs of Surveillance debuted at the Buxton Fringe Festival. In 2016 he was appointed songwriter in residence as part of an Arts Council funded project with the People's History Museum - the national museum for democracy. Hill's latest show 'Battle for the Ballot' tells the story of the fight for the right to vote and was premiered in June 2016 as part of Manchester Histories Festival. An album of 'Battle for the Ballot' is available as a free download and a CD version will be released in 2017.
REVIEWS OF QUIET LONER
GREEDY MAGICIANS :
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
An album of real poetry, showing great imagination. A strong album about standing up and being counted, both a joy to listen to and poetic in its nature. Fatea
manages to involve the listener in a way which makes them keep coming back. You learn to love the empathy and the power of the record. A wonderful collection of songs” 10/10 Americana UK
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 5/5 Maverick Magazine
‘The wordplay is pure Costello. Delicate songwriting, with hints of folk and Americana. Bleakly beautiful.’ UNCUT (****)
‘The Loner’s acoustic guitar-gilded explorations shine.’ DAILY MIRROR (****)
‘An outstanding record. Uplifting and inspiring’ MAVERICK (****)
‘He gathers his songs around him and weaves them into works of wonder’’ ROCK N REEL R2 (****)
‘Somewhere between Raymond Carver and Alan Sillitoe… dissecting heartbreak with surgical precision. Highly recommended.’ AMERICANA UK (8/10)
SECRET RULER OF THE WORLD
“Maybe it’s Hill’s warm intensity, maybe it’s just a cracking album but on this evidence, the UK americana scene has never felt so healthy.”AMERICANA-UK (album of the year)
“Poised between light and dark, like the sweet sting of velvet nettles.”UNCUT (***)
“It’s not an overstatement to say it’s up there with Ryan Adams’ “Heartbreaker”. Believe me, you need to hear this album.”WHISPERINANDHOLLERIN
“If heartbreak has ever before been melded into such an intriguing, downright splendid attraction then I’d be at pains to believe it, for this is an absolute treasure of originality.”LOGO
“Secret Ruler’ is punishing and yet cruelly beautiful. Eleven songs that we guarantee will strike you dumb. As sweetly stinging as you could ever imagine an album could be.”LOSING TODAY
“Secret Ruler of The Word is a real find. Deserves to take pride of place in anyone’s Best Of lists at the end of the year, it simply is that good.”COMES WITH A SMILE
“With pithy, sardonic lyrics about fallen angels and serial killers Hill is one the UK’s finest alt-country balladeers” – London Tour Dates
“Hill’s acutely-observed lyrics have a sharp, refreshing honesty but are shot through with an optimism that sets him apart form his contemporaries.” – Comes with a Smile
“Hill excels as a raconteur between songs. In the space of five songs, we traipse past the executioner’s chair, Johnny Cash, lost love, Lucifer and ID cards.” – BBC Manchester
“Hill’s sound and lyrical twists encompass everyone from Jay Farrar to Morrissey – it’s country music with a dark, foreboding, sardonic heart but with glimmers of optimistic passion. Real enough to feel laden with an integrity that endures repeated listens.” – Americana-UK
“Hill hits the spot in many of the same ways the Smiths did, albeit in a more organic way, managing to be curiously uplifiting even in the depths of despair” – City Life