These days, I find myself torn creatively between a couple places. And when I say “these days”, the reality is that I most “most days.”

The two ends of this spectrum can be labeled “interesting to me” and “interesting to someone else.” It’s the writing I want to accomplish just because I’m passionate about the idea, and then it’s the assignment that someone else is demanding—you know, the one that will actually pay my bills.

For anyone wrestling with any creative output, this should be familiar terrain. We were all born with some sort of internal compass that drives us in various directions, to create what interests and intrigues us at a given moment. Yet we’re also prone to allow other voices in for various reasons. For me, it’s often out of a need to make a living. For others, the external pressures comes from other sides.

Today’s guest on The Resistance is singer-songwriter Mat Kearney. I remember the very first time I heard one of Mat’s recordings, a song called “Renaissance”, off his eventual debut Nothing Left to Lose. The album was loose and different, with a spoken word approach and 16-bar verses over sparse acoustic melodies. It spanned genres in a time when music was categorized and sorted into separate bins. It didn’t fit the mold, but it worked so well.

Fifteen years later, Mat says he’s still trying his best to stay connected to the innocence of that first project. Several albums have come and gone, and he’s quick to admit that not every project has followed the internal drive as well as he’d like. Industry pressures. Critical responses. None of us are immune to the voices that seek to shape what we create.

These days, Mat is back with a brand new album on the way entitled January Flower. He says the early carefree vibe is back on this set of songs. The only thing that matters is if he’s into it. If others come along for the ride, then so be it. Early singles like “Powerless” and “Grand Canyon” are proof positive, and trust me, you’re gonna love the whole thing.

Mat’s always been a great conversationalist, and we’re quite happy to have him as our latest guest on this episode of The Resistance.

VISIT: Mat Kearney