Courtesy of Sacks & Co

PREMIERE: Reckless Son’s Resilient Ties That Bind Are Showcased on ‘Praying For Rain’

Reckless Son, Matt Butler, is one of New York’s premier singer-songwriters, so when the chance to premiere one of his new releases came up, it only made sense to jump on it. An earnest rising star, Butler has earned his fair share of praise for being not just that genuine ‘world-traveling’ performer, but an activist and outspoken wiseman in the vein of Jason Isbell, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan. He spreads his wings and the wings of others through song – songs like “Praying For Rain,” of which we are thrilled to be sharing with you today along with its accompanied video below.

Upon briefly chatting with the one-man-band, you find even stronger, darker ties to the subjects and feelings at hand. It’s impressive and electrifying – Butler’s harmonious and public healing, that is. He croons about the small towns and swoons over the big city with poignant lyrical content that is sharp, familiar, and soul-stirring. Tomorrow’s EP release, the self-titled Reckless Son, amplifies all of that.

“Praying For Rain” marks the final release before tomorrow’s EP release. How does this song and its visual component, specifically, set the stage for the record as a whole?

The visual cue came from the experience of driving through Utah to play a concert at a prison that was way out in the middle of the desert, something that will stick with me forever. At its core, “Reckless Son” is a coming of age story, a hero’s journey, and I think the desert is a place where we come to face our fears. It strips away illusions about what you need to survive and it gives you only what you absolutely need. When you come out the other side, if you come out the other side, you’re not the same person you were when you entered. Surrendering to that process is what the song and inevitably the whole record is about.

A big part of this track’s weight comes from its message of vulnerability – the solitude in deciding to let vulnerability overcome you when needed. Was there a certain time or point in your life that this idea came from, as it is quite personal, albeit universal?

I had a particularly rough stretch in my twenties. That’s a point in time where I think some people expect to have made something of themselves, to have direction in life, but I felt like I had failed everything I’d ever attempted, including making my way as a musician. I spun out in all kinds of ways and in the moment, the suffering can seem pointless, and that’s at the heart of “Praying For Rain”; the singer is asking “What is this all for?” But the truth is that eventually I was able to mine that experience for everything I could get, personally and artistically. I took the songs from those wilderness years and I brought them with me into the jails, those were the songs that helped me make a connection with folks behind the walls.  

Your EP is self-titled, Reckless Son. For many artists, the release of a self-titled LP or EP solidifies a moment in their career – a debut, a change, a new beginning. Why is now a good time to drop something self-titled and special like this one?

I’d say Reckless Son, along with being the name of the show and the EP, is a character. I wanted each song on the record to feel like it came from the same voice, I wanted the listener to feel like they were on a journey with someone. The ‘reckless son’ is an amalgamation of countless individuals I met inside correctional facilities, all filtered through the lens of my own personal truths. I’ve felt like I was the ‘reckless son’ my whole life and it’s a story I think I was born to tell – a story I had to tell. By putting out this record and putting that name on it, I feel like a whole new chapter of life is about to begin.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself anything prior to writing these songs and putting this record together, what it would be?

There’s a line in the chorus of “Praying For Rain” that says “I’m praying for the purpose in all of this pain.” I think I’d tell myself to stay hopeful, to stay faithful because I think there has been a purpose to it. I’ve been changed by the years I spent on the road, by everything it took to create this body of work. It’s a process that’s still going, and sometimes it’s like watching your hair grow; you don’t notice it happening. But one day, once you’ve had some distance, you look in the mirror and you see an entirely different person.