Matt Quarterman

Matt Quarterman of LYRE

A singer/songwriter/poet/multi-instrumentalist: Matt Quarterman is hard to define. Just asking where he’s from elicits an elaborate response. “My parents are missionaries, and I was raised around the world. I was born in Portugal, but when I was 13 we moved to Odessa, Ukraine. My family’s from the South, and I’ve spent time in all four corners of the U.S. so it’s a little hard to give a one-sentence answer to that,” he laughs.

The confusion doesn’t end there, either: “Everything has a story with me – even my education. I went to school in Mississippi and majored English, but then had second thoughts about teaching ninth-graders Shakespeare, so I headed to Boston for a second degree in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music.”

Given his frenetic upbringing, you would rightly expect the music Matt makes to be somewhat left of center. Matt plays guitar, harmonica, bass, dobro, mandolin and banjo. And, beginning at 13, has written hundreds of songs, blending elements of country, rockabilly, old-time folk music, the Russian bard tradition, blues, classical and pop/rock.

As a teenager Matt founded Nonchalance, at the time the only English-speaking rock band in Ukraine. And since then he’s been in almost a dozen musical groups, ranging from pop/rock to jazz to worship music to old-time Appalachian hill music. Aside from LYRE, Matt is currently recording and gigging around Seattle with his wife Erin as slowcore accordion-rock duo Star Called Sun. 

Matt’s won several awards for his poetry and when asked if he has a different lyrical viewpoint because of his background in literature, he answers, “Maybe so. I feel like there’s so much that hasn’t been said in popular music, so many subjects and approaches from books & art & film that rock ‘n’ roll seems scared to touch. That’s one of the things that’s always excited me about being a songwriter: extending my grasp, finding ways to express these ineffable things in words and music. I know Dave has similar ideas about trying to reach listeners, and I’m excited about LYRE because it’s a chance to catch someone’s vision, be inspired and ignited by it.”

Matt is also excited to expand his experiences by joining Dave in his new project.  “Throughout my career I’ve struggled with performing in venues  where people don’t really come to be inspired or to listen to music or even to make real human connections. One of Dave’s goals with LYRE is to reach out and truly connect with people and I admire that. I want these songs make a difference in someone’s life.”

Radical ideas of the performer/audience relationship aren’t new to Matt.  “I studied with Livingston Taylor (brother of better known James) at Berklee,” Matt confirms, “And he blew my mind when he said, ‘Your audience does not need you. You need your audience.’ I firmly believe that’s true, and it inspires humility and gratitude in me when people are willing to listen to what I create.

“So I’m hoping that what I contribute to the band, and what LYRE gives their audience, is something real and valuable: a way to break past barriers and limitations, letting your reach exceed your grasp but still never failing to reach. It’s an honor to play for people, and I want to be worthy of that honor.”

You can find out more about Matt’s background and other musical projects at as well as