Something about the moniker "Matt the Electrician" might make you think he makes children's music. The fact that he's opening for Trout Fishing in America Nov. 10 at the Original Ozark Folk Festival might reinforce that notion.
But the fact is that Trout Fishing's Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet are doing a show of their "not just for kids" songs that evening at the Eureka Springs City Auditorium, and Matt Sever says he "never catered my lyrics in that direction at all."
"That being said," he adds, "I do think that the general filter through which all of my songs come is some amalgam of 'what if the Muppets and Charlie Brown wrote a 1960s Off-Broadway musical for adults together?'!"
"This Austin songwriter is funny, really funny, but at the same time shows you the quirky, kind and sincere world where he abides," festival spokeswoman Nancy Paddock says of Sever. "Matt is a favorite among the folk world, and you will be singing his songs in your head for a long time."
Paddock is especially proud to announce the festival's lineup for Nov. 9-11 because it "celebrates the American songwriter with some of the rising stars of the folk world as well as one of the longest playing duos in America."
Trout Fishing's Grimwood and Idlet have been playing together 47 years, have been nominated for four Grammys and are "one of the most loved and hardest to describe groups in folk," Paddock says. "Their funny, irreverent style combined with their amazing musicianship and vocals has kept Trout on the playlist of generations of fans."
Also performing are John Fullbright, Melissa Carper, Kelly Willis, Brennen Leigh, Jumpsuit Jamey and the Can't Wait to Playboys, Jesse Dean, Still on the Hill and more, either on the Aud mainstage, at the Folk Fair downstairs in the Aud, at the Barefoot Ball or around town.
Sever says he's played Eureka Springs once before -- "cannot remember what year" -- and he's "psyched to hear Trout Fishing!"
"I've always had very diverse taste in music," Sever says. "I think playing trumpet in school, and being exposed to the western art music pantheon, as well as a healthy dose of jazz, opened me up to the idea that there were many different kinds of music outside of what was popular -- and wasn't that super cool?!
Sever was born in San Francisco and grew up in southern Oregon.
"I started playing the trumpet at the age of 5, after seeing my dad's rock 'n' roll cover band play in a bar one night," he explains. "They had a sax player named Willie, who also played trumpet, and I just became obsessed.
"My parents, who were always super supportive of anything artistic we wanted to try, but also not having much money at all, procured a dented trumpet from a garage sale for $5, and I took a few lessons from Willie before I played in school."
Sever's eclectic tastes progressed to metal when he was in junior high.
"From the metal, I got into punk rock and hardcore, as I was mostly skateboarding with any free time I had," he remembers. "When I first started playing the guitar at 15, I did try to play metal and hardcore music, but I was never very good at it."
Sever still finds his music shaped by "the same thing that has always shaped it, lyrically, which is the immediate world around me, my family and friends. As for musically ... I've been leaning into jazz a lot in the last four or five years," he elaborates. "I really dug in hard to Ahmad Jamal, the amazing pianist, who recently passed away. His energy and use of space are incredibly satisfying to me, and very inspiring. Madison Cunningham is fantastic, a little too good, and only getting better. And Devon Sproule and Wilson Marks are both songwriters that are constantly pushing so many boundaries, and reminding me that there really are no right ways to do this thing."
Trout Fishing in America
& Matt the Electrician
WHEN -- 7 p.m. Nov. 10
WHERE -- The Aud, 36 S. Main St. in Eureka Springs
COST -- $25
INFO -- theaud.thundertix.com
Original Ozark Folk Festival
Barefoot Ball -- 8 p.m. Nov. 9 with Jumpsuit Jamey & The Can't Wait to Playboys, Basin Park Hotel. $15.
Ozark Folk Fair -- With arts & crafts exhibits, plus live music by the Korey McKelvy Duo, Opal Agafia, Dylan Hawf, Mountain Alice, Jesse Dean, Still on the Hill, Trout Fishing in America and Bayard Blain, 11 a.m. Nov. 10-11, downstairs at the Aud. Free.
Trout Fishing & Matt the Electrician -- 7 p.m. Nov. 10, The Aud. $25
John Fullbright -- With Melissa Carper, Kelly Willis & Brennen Leigh Trio, 7 p.m. Nov. 11, The Aud. $35.
INFO -- Visiteurekasprings.com/events or 253-7444.