Real life. That’s what Matt Megrue sings about on his latest EP, Lost Hearts of the Jilted Age, out Fri. Feb. 10. Punk meets heartland rock in this three-song EP, which was intended to be the second in a series of three seven-inch EPs put out by his band Matt Megrue & the Daisy Chains. Megrue says, however, that he and the Daisy Chains experienced “a series of hang-ups from about March until October” of last year and Lost Hearts of the Jilted Age proved to be “a beast” to release.

For starters, the drummer of the Daisy chains left unexpectedly in February and asked for his drum tracks to be removed from the already recorded songs. Concurrently, Sean Kelly, bassist and co-producer of the record, went on tour with A Fragile Tomorrow. During this period of time, Megrue began to doubt himself and his songs, questioning whether or not he should even release the tracks, which had begun to feel “stale.” However, when Sean returned from tour, he encouraged Megrue to “nail down a drummer and put these things out there.”

Domimic Kelly, brother of A Fragile Tomorrow’s Sean and Brendan Kelly, sat in on drums, coming in and, as Megrue puts it, “knocking the stale off, and the tracks began to feel fresh and exciting once again. Megrue notes “how much a drummer’s style can vary the entire feel of a song.” In addition to having a new drummer with his own style, Megrue says the recording process was “counter-intuitive to the way records are typically made where you record the rhythm section first.” The unorthodox recording method, however, is undetectable.

The first track on the EP, Lost Hearts of the Jilted Age, is all about coming to terms with adulthood and responsibility. Written at a time when Megrue felt personally and creatively exhausted, “stuck, uninspired, claustrophobic, and searching for a spark,” Megrue calls his audience to arms in the catchy, upbeat drinking song of sorts,“Mah-sha-rah, mah-sha-rae, We’ll Drink these Blues Away!” The song explores the emotions associated with maturation and the slipping away of youth, but rather than feeling apathetic or cynical, we are filled with exuberance, and we toast to change.

On EP’s second track, “Worktruck,” Megrue sings from the perspective of a character from his small, Southern hometown. In the past, Megrue has admitted to feeling less than proud of his Southern upbringing due to the stigma sometimes attached to it, however, he is indeed proud of his origins. “I just wanted to capture a slice of life from where I come from,” he says. The small town character, with busted knees, aching bones, and muddy shoes, doesn’t live a life of glamor, but he is a content, hard-working man like his “daddy and his daddy before him.”

Megrue wrote the final track on the EP, “Jenny,” shortly after Robin Williams’ suicide, when “Genie, you’re free” memes were being shared around the internet. Though Megrue was not a lifelong fan, Williams’ suicide impacted him. He realized that the actor was “a guy who is seemingly so joyous and goofy, and even he had moments where he felt like life was hopeless.” Megrue calls this song, which slows down the tone of the EP, a “sobering reminder of how we are all struggling.” Megrue’s lyrics offer comfort to those haunted by demons and remind us that we have more life to live.

Lost Hearts of the Jilted Age earnestly tackles authentic feelings associated with aging and the struggles of getting through life, exploring these themes in a nostalgic yet invigorating way. The guys who put this record together, Megrue and the Kellys, are also working on a more evolved, full-length album to be released later this year.

For further updates on Megrue and to check out Lost Hearts of the Jilted Age, visit mattmegrue.com.

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