March 1: Catch one-man band Matt Lorenz at Capitol Center for the Arts

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

If You Go


Matt Lorenz and the Suitecase Junket

Capitol Center for the Arts

16 S. Main Street

Concord, NH 03301

March 1/7:30 p.m.

CONCORD, NH – The art of the one-man band can be a peculiar thing sometimes. It can constitute a basic setup with a person strumming their guitar and pounding their foot on a kick drum while singing their heart out, or it can be more complex with a ton of different instruments coming into play. As The Suitcase Junket, Matt Lorenz utilizes an approach that’s similar to the latter while creating a blues-soaked brand of folk music.

On March 1 at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage within the confines of the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, people can experience Lorenz’s unique way of performing starting at 7:30 p.m. The energy of his songs immerses the senses of the listener, so be prepared for that if you plan on attending.

Matt and I had a talk ahead of the show, about him touring with a couple acclaimed acts last year, being part an exchange program in Cuba while attending college and hoping to release a new album of songs at some point in the future. 

311142004 631691068336045 2472988755355638479 n
Matt Lorenz bring his one-man band to the Capitol Center for the Arts on March 1. Courtesy Photo

Rob Duguay: 2023 was a very busy year for you that had you doing a lot of touring and even doing a few dates with the legendary singer-songwriter Chris Smither and the Boston electric blues band GA-20. In reflection, how would you describe your experience of touring with both of those acts?

Matt Lorenz: I love going out with Smither for a few reasons. I was lucky enough to play on his album “Call Me Lucky” that came out a few years ago and we’ve played a bunch of times together in the past. For some shows, he’ll call me out to play some tunes, but what’s more fun than that is just strumming our songs together down in the green room, trading songs and seeing what kind of new stuff is percolating. Another fun element of hanging out with Smither is bringing up other people of his generation, the legendary folk and blues people, because nine out of 10 times he has a story that’ll blow your mind. It could be about the boost to his career that John Prine gave him or this or that. 

It’s stuff that he wouldn’t brag about or bring up naturally, but if you ask him then he’ll tell you those stories. 

RD: That’s awesome. 

ML: Yeah, and the GA-20 guys are great. We’ve played together a few times and with both of these groups, they have such a different bent from each other musically in terms of mainly just volume, I guess. They each play a different sort of blues, but it allows me to sort of lean into the different aspects of my sound and change my set accordingly. I can get a little bit heavier with the GA-20 guys while making things a little bit more introspective and wordy with Smither.

RD: It’s cool that you’re able to alternate between those two approaches. When you perform live, you play a guitar and sing but you round out your sound with unique instruments such as a hi-hat with a chain wrapped on the top of it and other things. Do you often have to replace these accompanying instruments that you have due to the wear and tear or do they last longer in terms of functionality than one might think?

ML: It’s the latter. Playing with the sort of salvaged instrument type of stuff like these homemade drums for the snare sounds, a circular saw belt for a crash symbol that’s also a foot pedal, a suitcase kick drum and that janky hi-hat, they break but they last a lot longer than you’d think. The thing I have to replace the most is there’s a gas can that this little baby shoe hits and the bottom of that gas can wore out within the first year of the project and I have to replace whatever goes on there once or twice a year. I don’t know what’s going on with that baby shoe, but it beats the hell out of that piece of metal. I’ve used automotive steel that I’ve pried off a truck, I’ve used a double-layered galvanized heating duct and now I’m using layers of license plates. 

A lot of that stuff hangs on a lot longer than you’d think, but that baby shoe keeps on crankin’ through those pieces of metal. 

RD: It’s crazy what you’ve been able to find to make those replacements, that’s amazing. License plates, who would have thought that? Recently on social media, you shared a photo of yourself from when you were a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and you mentioned that you studied in Cuba during that time in your life. How did that come about? Was it part of an exchange program of some sort? What was the experience like for you being over there?

ML: Hampshire had a very cool exchange program with Cuba and I think a student came up with it some years before I was there. Basically, instead of being like most exchange things where you have all the foreigners in one place with almost all the classes being segregated because they don’t encourage mixing in general, they gave us homestays while setting us up with an individual tutor who was a professional working in the field that you were intending to study. When I was there, I was doing a lot of saxophone, improvised music and experimental stuff, so the experience was pretty eye-opening just in terms of the vast difference between cultures. I grew up in Vermont, so coming down to Cuba and seeing the way people are with each other was fundamentally different. It was a pretty amazing exchange program, I’m not sure if it’s still going but it changed my trajectory in a lot of different ways musically.

I didn’t end up sticking with the saxophone in any sort of professional way outside of a little bit of session work, but it was that sort of personal change that you get when you go to a new place, you’re starting from scratch and you’re figuring out how to fit in. 

RD: It’s great that you got to experience that. You’ve performed all over the New England region and beyond, so what are your thoughts of coming up to New Hampshire to perform at the Capitol Center For The Arts?

ML: I’m looking forward to it, I think I played there before when it had just opened some years ago. Like I mentioned before, I grew up in Vermont so New Hampshire was sort of a low-key rival but I love my New England neighbors all the same. There’s always a little rowdy group of folks who come out to the shows in New Hampshire, so I’m really looking forward to it. I love it up there. 

RD: I feel a similar way. After the show, what are your plans for the coming months? I know it’s been a few years since you made a new album, so do you have any plans to go back into the studio at some point this year?

ML: I usually slow down a little bit during the winter and I use it as a time to write, reflect, do some maple sugaring and hang around the house. I’ve got songs and I had a record ready to go in the summer of 2021, but things kind of went off the rails. My sister was a close musical collaborator of mine and she had passed away suddenly. 

RD: Oh, that’s horrible. My condolences. 

ML: Thank you. That record we made didn’t really make sense anymore, so I’ve been figuring out how to do the next thing. I’ve sort of recalibrated how to write, what I’m writing about and during COVID I had two kids so my life has changed pretty extremely. I used to play around 200 shows during the year, but now it’s really kind of flipped and I like being home. These new songs are ready to go, so I’m just figuring out how to get into the studio and maybe try to get some tracks laid down in this little home studio I built. 

The idea is to keep digging into those while figuring out the instrumentation if I’m going to bring in other musicians for the session and that sort of thing. I used to be on a pretty steady schedule of albums coming out every other year, but things sort of went sideways.


About this Author

Robert Duguay

Robert Duguay is a freelance writer who covers the NH music scene.