Old, Yet New
Matt Sellick to Delve into Recent Albums at TBSO Shows
Story by Matt Prokopchuk, Photos by Zahra Saleki
When Thunder Bay-born flamenco guitarist Matt Sellick takes to the stage this month with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, the musician says the pieces will be familiar to those who have his albums, yet new at the same time.
“A lot of the newer stuff that I’ve been working on is off my two more recent albums […] and I haven’t really gotten much of a chance to perform it,” he says. North Shore and Uprooted, Sellick’s two most recent albums— his third and fourth solo albums— were released in 2019 and 2021 respectively. He says when North Shore was released, he initially was going to tour it, but within weeks, he joined Canadian flamenco legend Jesse Cook’s band, which kept him busy; when Uprooted came out, COVID-19 rules effectively had wiped out touring. “North Shore came out four years ago, but I’ve never really performed the stuff off of it, so this is going to be new for me, too,” Sellick says. “It’s material that’s a couple years old at this point, but it’s going to be a brand new experience for me, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
Sellick is no stranger to performing with his hometown symphony, having shared the stage with the orchestra several times over roughly the past decade. For this show, he’s been working on arrangements of his pieces to include orchestral accompaniment—a process he calls both fun and challenging. “[Flamenco guitar is] not like violin where it cuts right through, or like those instruments where you can put an orchestra behind you and you stand out on top of it, naturally,” he says. “You really have to finesse the arrangements in order to make sure you, as the soloist, are still audible.”
Having the opportunity to share his music with the symphony’s backing is something Sellick says he enjoys and it’s an opportunity he appreciates. “It’s hard to get stuff performed in that format,” he says. “Most people can’t just phone up an orchestra and be like ‘would you play my stuff?’” he says, laughing.
As for the rest of 2023, Sellick will be back out touring with Jesse Cook, but also expects to have some time to get himself back out on the road as a solo artist—an endeavour that he says the TBSO concert will be “the best place to start.” “It’s sort of a start of what I’m starting to try to do, which is more of my own arrangements, more of my own pieces, more of my own shows,” he says. “I’ve got four albums worth of material and I really want to start playing it for people.”
An Evening with Matt Sellick runs March 31 and April 1 at 7:30 pm at the Da Vinci Centre. For more information and tickets, visit tbso.ca.