Back in plaid: Matt Latterell

This Minneapolis singer-songwriter is a bearded, bourbon-drinking wonder.

Blues-rock singer/songwriter Matt Latterell poses outside of Spyhouse Coffee Roasters in Minneapolis on Sunday. Lateral will play at band Aero Flynn's record release show at 7th Street Entry on April 3.

Juliet Farmer

Blues-rock singer/songwriter Matt Latterell poses outside of Spyhouse Coffee Roasters in Minneapolis on Sunday. Lateral will play at band Aero Flynn’s record release show at 7th Street Entry on April 3.

Mary Reller

Finding the right location with the ideal music scene has been an ongoing process for singer-songwriter Matt Latterell.

Though he grew up in Foley, Minn., he said he considers Northeast Minneapolis his home. He moved to the city several years ago.

But last year, he said goodbye to Minneapolis and tried to make a new start in St. Cloud.

“I [had] a weird detour through life that took me to St. Cloud for a while,” Latterell said. “I was going to get married, and it didn’t work out.”

Latterell said St. Cloud lacked the music scene that he loved in Minneapolis and the place hindered his creativity. He moved back to Minneapolis.

“I thought, ‘This is going to be my life now. I’m going to get married and live this kind of life,’” Latterell said. “When that didn’t work out, I came back. I was like, ‘No, I was right. [Minneapolis] is where I’m supposed to be. That [small-town lifestyle] is never going to happen to me, and I don’t want it to.’”

He began working on his third album shortly after his second record, “Life On Land”, came out in 2011. Latterell said his newest album is nearly finished, and he expects to release it this fall.

“I’ve written things in the past that were more crass and sarcastic,” Latterell said. “It’s fine for people to know me for that, but this time I [tried to] avoid being so sour.”

Latterell said he made an effort to give his third record a more sophisticated sound by using acoustic instrumentation and simple synths.

“For ‘Life On Land,’ it was more about whatever made me angry at the time, [but my first album], ‘Charades,’ was whatever came out of too much drinking,” Latterell said.

Initially, booze was a common motif in Latterell’s music.

But he said he’s ready for a change.

“You can really only go so far with that [subject] unless you’re Hank Williams Jr.,” Latterell said.

Latterell said it was important he worked as a solo musician for his latest project.

He admitted he’s a bit of a perfectionist about his work.

Latterell wrote most of the new record in an empty room with no windows or doors to the outside to achieve a level of total concentration. He said he takes his music seriously, and he likes to be in control of it.

ABBA and Scott Walker — not the Wisconsin governor, Latterell clarified — are his two most prominent musical influences.

Fellow singer-songwriter Brian Just said Latterell sounds a lot like Scott Walker in his latest project.

“It’s hard to make your voice heard in a big city with hundreds of [other] bearded dudes with acoustic guitars, but I think [he’s been successful],” Just said. “There’s a way that he commands the stage as a solo artist that makes him stand apart. His songs aren’t sweet love ballads — there’s an edge to them.”

Latterell and Just became friends after performing together at the Kitty Cat Klub.

“We hit it off right away. He played a full version of ‘Street Hassle’ by Lou Reed,” Just said. “I thought that was a pretty ridiculous thing to try to pull off, but he actually did [it].”

Since his impressive 11-minute performance, Just said Latterell has become an even stronger artist.

Just said over the last few years, Latterell has gained more confidence as a musician, and he was careful with picking the right time for releasing his latest album.

“It’s been so much time that I might as well just take a little more time and try to do it right,” he said. “I’ve had a long time to whittle down something that I feel proud of.”

 

What: Aero Flynn with Carroll and Matt Latterell

When: 8 p.m., Friday

Where: First Avenue, 701 First Avenue N., Minneapolis

Cost: $8-$10

Age: 18+