NEW ENGLAND BASED FOLK/ROCK
TROUBADOUR RONDA MATSON
CONNECTS WITH AN AUDIENCE HUNGRY FOR HEARTFELT
HONESTY ON HER NEW ALBUM â€˜TRUTH BE TOLDâ€™
A longtime believer in the philosophy that â€œsometimes you really just have to draw the line and step over itâ€¦take the chance,â€ performing songwriter Ronda Matson has long had a date with musical destiny. Along the road, life threw her some crazy curveballsâ€”some wonderful (a husband and four children), some challenging (a serious medical condition)â€”but the good news is, she finally found the time and space to return to her first love. Truth Be Told (the name of her latest CD), itâ€™s hard to imagine her songs having the emotional impact they do without the wisdom she gained and the trials that have shaped her over the years.
Relating her multitude of sometimes tough, often exhilarating life experiences in song, the multi-talented folk/rock troubadour has been gigging regularly these past few years throughout her home region of New England. Mixing in a few classic rock covers (Stones, Clapton, etc) with her hard hitting originals from her 2006 debut EP The First Seven and Truth Be Told, Rondaâ€”who plays both guitar and harmonica onstage–has performed at Rossiâ€™s Restaurant in Millis, Massachusetts (her adopted hometown), Coffee Sensations in Medway and Fireflyâ€™s in Framingham. Looking for more intimate venuesâ€”which are more conducive to the deep personal connections she creates with her fansâ€”she is also starting to perform on the public library circuit.
Although it would be easy to tell the story of Rondaâ€™s emergence as a sudden change of heart that brought her back to music, Truth Be Told, the classically trained performerâ€”who studied piano as a child and guitar, violin and voice throughout her adult years, and even played her grandfatherâ€™s 1920s-era mandolinâ€”was writing or singing privately on and off over the years. Her decision to pursue a professional career began gradually after she closed her private personal training and Spinning studio in 2003. She played for many of her clients and ultimately started performing her backlog of original material at local shows.
Ronda originally recorded The First Seven as a gift for the people she knew, but as she acquired new fans, she responded to their demand and turned it into an official EP release. While her influences range from Johnny Cash and Mark Knopfler to Chrissie Hynde and Warren Zevon, something about the mix of folk and classical she loved growing up stuck with her when she began writing and performing. Musically, her childhood was defined by a rarefied realm where Mozart and Chopin met Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel. Her father was a Lutheran minister during a time when folk services were all the rage, and Ronda honed her chops performing in these energized church settings.
However listeners â€œhearâ€ the material on Truth Be Told, its 11 songs truly have the power to transform them both emotionally and spiritually. The heartfelt title track was inspired by the breakup of someone close to Ronda; while the sadness of the song hits people first, ultimately while the song is filled with regret for what is lost, thereâ€™s no good guy or bad guy, and the focus is on moving forward. Another tune that is resonating greatly with her audiences is â€œBonny Call,â€ a lilting, Irish flavored song of encouragement to her daughters Erin and Amanda, who are both interested in pursuing careers as opera singers. She says, â€œThe word â€˜Bonnyâ€™ in Scottish means â€˜excellent and beautifulâ€™ and I made up the phrase â€˜Bonny Callâ€™ to insinuate â€˜excellent or beautiful path, with the hope that all four of my kids will follow theirs!â€ Four of the other tracksâ€”â€œWeight,â€ â€œIllusion,â€ â€œBlindâ€ and â€œRunâ€â€”are thoughtful explorations of the many emotions involved in dealing with some very personal conflicts, once again affirming the raw truth we get to hear, unfiltered, from Rondaâ€™s truest heart.