More than just another acoustic duo, Prettier Than Matt has evolved into both an engaging live act and a potent, diverse studio creation with their latest EP release, Uncover. The undeniably likeable pairing of singer/keyboard/ukulele player Jessica Skinner and guitarist/singer Jeff Pitts combines her classic country and pop influences with the arena rock leanings of Pitts, with everyone from Dolly Parton and Ingrid Michaelson to Bon Jovi listed as their personal favorites.
The result? Rather than fading into a corner as background music, Prettier Than Matt command attention wherever they appear; they have made a name for themselves in the Carolinas and beyond with rock 'n' roll energy and easygoing acoustic accessibility that allows them to play in many different places, events, and situations and still appeal to a wide audience.
Uncover, recorded again with Kenny McWilliams in Columbia, South Carolina's Archer Avenue studio, represents a creative leap for the group from a production and songwriting standpoint, especially with opening track “Heaven Forbid.” Echoing the spare, electric sounds employed by the Avett Brothers recent output, the tune's minimalistic melody and prominent, rhythmic percussion couple with a lyric about taking time to relax—a timely and necessary message for musicians as busy as Skinner and Pitts, not to mention the average listener.
Pitts' voice steps up to lead “Heart To Get,” and the low key vocal delivery and alternating lines between him and Skinner recall classic 80's synth pop such as Human League or Depeche Mode.
The title track and “Miss You” find Skinner in more
conventional country/pop territory where her powerful
voice with a hint of twang just feels right. Including
additional instruments such as the piano on the latter
beefs up the sound without overwhelming the singers
or the songs.
The ironically sleepy take of “Wake Up” features both
Pitts and Skinner in nearly equal measure; the easy
harmonies and familial feel of their vocal interplay recalls
the early folk recordings of Jim and Ingrid Croce.
Bookending the EP with another uptempo pop gem in
“Face in the Crowd,” Skinner's plaintive voice evokes
endless nightly gigs even as it outlines a relationship
trying to navigate through those masses. With Uncover,
Prettier Than Matt can definitely say that they are not just
a face in the crowd of acoustic music acts.
Prettier Than Matt is a self-contained DIY effort with
Pitts and Skinner handling their own booking and
management; on their own they have been able to
mount cross-country tours the last several years and play
shows with Sister Hazel, Edwin McCain, G. Love and
Special Sauce, Spin Doctors, Robert Earl Keen, Danielle
Howle and others. If they haven't been to your town yet,
it won't be long.
1. Play Pretty: released May 7, 2013
2. Prettier Than Matt: released October 30, 2014
3. Christmas Jams: released November 20, 2014
4. Better Left Said: released April 23, 2016
5. Uncover: released November 3, 2017
6. Cover: released August 23, 2018
7. Retrograde: released May 25, 2019