Our Video Pick this week is a lovely version of American folk-pop singer-songwriter Don McLean’s early 1970s classic “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” rendered by the excellent Australian guitarist Matt Withers (whom we wrote about last year in conjunction with his superb album with the Acacia Quartet, Imaginations). The tribute to Vincent van Gogh, which first appeared on McLean’s smash hit American Pie album, turns up in Withers’ repertoire in the arrangement devised by the great Chet Atkins. (Matt’s version appeared on his most recent solo effort, 2017’s Songs of Yesterday.) In the video—which was shot at Tulip Top Gardens in New South Wales (a bit north of Canberra, Australia), and augmented with Van Gogh-inspired “animations” by Paul Martin—Withers is playing a guitar built by Australian luthier Greg Smallman.
As always, there is other news to impart from the perennially busy guitarist. Friday, January 31 is the deadline for entries in the 2020 Matt Withers Australian Music Composition Contest. In April, Matt is going into the studio to record an album with pianist Sally Whitwell. And this summer, we can also expect to hear a new album on the Naxos label from Guitar Trek, the amazing quartet that features, Withers, Timothy Kain, Minh Le Hoang, and new addition Callum Henshaw.
Last but definitely not least, congratulations and hearty huzzahs are in order for Matt and his wife Emma on the birth of their first child, the completely adorable Edward Michael Withers, on January 17, 2020! Let the sleep deprivation begin! —Blair Jackson