Hard Luck Hittin' (n / a)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 3, 2006
Hard Luck Hittin'
He's been the most notable of the Weary Boys' songwriters, but on his solo debut, Mario Matteoli steps away from his ATXer's three chords and a cloud of dust for more introspective fare. The nine originals on Hard Luck Hittin' aren't even close to the Weary's bluegrassy racket but rather rummage around the acoustic solitude of Neil Young or the depressed world spun by Townes Van Zandt. Matteoli even takes a stab at Dylan-esque on the title track, a tune about being down and out with even more darkness on the horizon. While hard times inform most of Hard Luck Hittin', Matteoli's way with clean, simple melodies saves the day. That and his supporters: Matt Hubbard on keyboards, guitarist Mark Ambrose, and Charles Ozanian on drums, who provide effective backing that comes closer to country music's early days than today's singer-songwriter pretentiousness. Whether railing at politicians ("Hope in Nothing"), kissing off a girlfriend ("Happy Birthday From Wyoming"), or grappling with life's many uncertainties ("Sun Keeps Beatin' Down"), Matteoli's youthful talent for summoning up a sound that's both slyly thoughtful and markedly tuneful is anything but hard luck.