Sneaky Bones is the brainchild of Matthew Bean, a Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and all-around giant. With the help of a talented rotating cast of collaborators, Bean has been slowly carving his folk vision into the textures of genre land. Warm acoustic instruments, heavy pedal steel, and lucid leads are the well-worn handle on Bean’s sharpest tool – his striking melodic, harmonic, and lyrical sensibilities.
The songs stand on their own, punctuated by the captivating deliveries and absorbing performances of Sneaky Bones as a live solo act. Fluid storytelling, guitar playing, and experimentation calmly hold your hand as Bean takes you through his musical landscape, broadly labeled as folk music. If you listen to his records or catch a larger ensemble, it is icing on the cake.
“I like writing in different styles because I’m not moved by any specific style – I’m moved by music that makes my skin tingle. Doesn’t matter what package it comes in; music that just takes you over and for a moment there is nothing else. It’s so visceral. That’s what I try and replicate and what inspires me to take on new writing challenges.”
Bean grew up on a healthy diet of greats like Neil Young, Paul Simon, The Grateful Dead, Gram Parsons, Eddie Harris, and Bill Evans as well as modern contemporaries like Ryan Adams, Damien Jurado, Elliott Smith, A Tribe Called Quest, Andrew Bird, Stars of the Lid, and Tim O’Brien. Take their collective discography, cut it into a million tonal slivers, pull a strip out of the hat, and chances are you will find a glimpse of it somewhere on a Sneaky Bones record.
On his sophomore release, High as the Stars (out Aug 9, 2017), Sneaky Bones covers a lot of ground. The tracks slide from ominously broken grooves, to traditional folk ballads, to bright pop, to otherworldly electrified bluegrass, to stick-click country, with the occasional delicate fingerpicking slipped in.
Bean has toured North America extensively and has written and released six records with various groups – from the harmony-laden folk duo The Dwells to the catchy anti-Donald-Trump-saxo-garage-punk of The Original Donald Trump – while defining his folk identity as Sneaky Bones. Aside from usually being the tallest person in the room, he almost always has the silliest grin on his face so if you catch a show, you can’t miss him.