Chocolate the Complete Food
Matthew Middendorf has released his first 'CD, Chocolate--The Complete Food.' It is an album that combines deep, funny and provocative lyrics, beautiful melodies, and great production. The title song [track 1] is a fun anthem praising the sacred chocolate herb. Containing lines like "it's not an addiction, it's good for you" and "I used to take Prozac, my doctor made me switch / Now he gives me chocolate for my serotonin lift," it is adored by chocolate lovers everywhere. Western Dakota [track 2] is a ballad about the prairie and being close to the land: "I stand out on the prairie between the earth and sky / I don't feel alone--this land is alive." Being close to the land and experiencing a connection with nature is a theme that runs throughout this album. Blessed is the Match [track 9] is a deep and moving poem written by Hannah Senesh, which Matthew put to music. Hannah was a brave Jewish woman who risked (and lost) her life to help her fellow Jews in the Holocaust. So the line "Blessed is the heart with strength to stop it's beating for honor's sake" is a wasn't just poetry for her--it was who she was. Then there's the outrageous environmental rag, It's All About Me [track 7]. In this song, "me" is the human race: "Love a big GNP / Love my big SUV / And I don't despair for the water and air / It's all about me." Last, but not least, there's the rollicking religious romp Jesus Must Be In Hell [Track 3]. The Gospels say a number of times that Jesus was "a friend of sinners" but we hear that sinners are going to hell. If both are true, then Jesus must be in hell! With his friends! This song is inspired by Matthew's connection with Jesus and his disappointment on how that is expressed in contemporary churches. The CD was produced by Jay Vern at Jay's Place Recording, located on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Vern uses top Nashville session players for his projects, and they all did a fabulous job on these songs. BIO "Music, nature and spirituality." For years, when Matthew would ask himself what was really important to him, what he really cared about that was what he would hear. Matthew grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Because he's from Minnesota, a recovering shy person, and his father was a Lutheran minister, he figures he's eligible for honorary citizenship to Lake Wobegon--well he'd fit in, that's for sure. When he was about 13 (and let me tell you, THAT was a long time ago), Matthew got his first album--The Beatles' White Album. He'd play it over and over. The Beatles were his first musical love. So it was star crossed fate that the day the Beatles broke up, April 10th, is his birthday--Jeez, you thought Romeo and Juliet had it bad?!? That's when Matthew got into therapy. It's also when he started writing music. He'd sit at the piano and explore. Some family members thought he was trying to stress them out. Really he was just learning how to compose. Sometime around 1976 Bad Company's third album came out. Matthew noticed that the songs had the same 3 chords as all the songs on their first two albums. Do these guys only know three chords? Matthew knew a lot more than three chords, and he was just a kid. This was boring and frustrating. Pretty soon all you could hear on the radio was disco "music." Now this was really boring and frustrating. Matthew would have gotten into therapy, but he was already in therapy. So he started listening to J. S. Bach--this guy knew lots and lots of chords! Then, in the mid-80's a friend introduced him to Bruce Cockburn. Not only did this guy know more than three chords, but he also was singing beautiful lyrics about topics that mattered--nature, spirituality, human rights. In the early 90's while living in Houston, Matthew became involved in a spiritual group, called the Earthtribe, which practiced nature spirituality. Matthew had always been interested in spirituality and read about it a lot, but this group was able to create connections with spirit and create an experience of the sacred, instead of a cognitive belief system masquerading as spirituality. This led to an orientation in his writing that focused on nature and gave him the eyes that see nature as a vehicle to connect with spirit. It was also around this time that he developed an odd sense of humor that shows up in some of his songs. Matthew has some strong polar opposites: he's funny and deep all in one. In 1998, Matthew got laid off and thought, "Great, more time for songwriting!" The next year he moved to Colorado, started attending songwriting workshops and groups. He says there is nothing more satisfying than playing around with a clever idea, seeing what you can put together--it's like being a kid in a sandbox. Playing with words, chords and melody; taking a walk and having a creative idea or melody fall upon him. The result is this album. Hope you like it.