Fort Worth singer-songwriter Matt Tedder balances inspiration, timelessness on debut LP

Matt Tedder, holding an acoustic guitar, stands in front of a cactus on a mountainside

Matt Tedder
Photo: Brooks Burris

Call it, perhaps, the ultimate paradox of making a record: Capturing a moment of inspiration but trying to do so in a way that’s timeless.

It is a balance not easily struck, but one which the Weatherford-born and Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter Matt Tedder finds frequently on his debut LP, I Can Dream You, out now.

Doing so requires skill, of course, something the 27-year-old Tedder acquired over years of woodshedding on the guitar, as well as a brief stint in the spotlight, via an appearance on “The Voice” seven years ago.

Finding that balance between right now and forever also requires guidance, someone to steer you in the direction of that which inspires. For Tedder, that someone was his father, Charles, who died in 2021 from complications of lung cancer.

“My dad liked classic country music, mostly, like, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard [and] Bob Wills,” Tedder said during a recent conversation. “Dad was from Tulsa, so he obviously knew about Leon Russell and J.J. Cale and all that stuff … that was the music that I grew up hearing from him, and I didn’t not like it — I just didn’t really play it.

“With his passing, I just, you know, needed comfort. That came from listening to the music that he enjoyed. … I got turned onto a lot of great music, but his favorites, that’s what I went back to.”

Embracing the sounds of his youth — and those beloved by his father — inform the low-key but profoundly gripping I Can Dream You, 10 tracks, produced by Band of Heathens vocalist-guitarist Gordy Quist at Austin’s The Finishing School, which unfurl at a controlled smolder. Call it a Jim Croce or Harry Chapin by way of Texas hill country vibe.

Tedder, with support from fellow singer-songwriter Frankie Leonie, will celebrate I Can Dream You’s release Saturday at Tulips in Fort Worth.

“We kind of stumbled into a really great friendship,” Tedder said of Quist. “We share so many common influences and ideas about how music should be recorded and played — we just found [ourselves] agreeing on a lot of things. Even before I made the decision to work with him … we wrote the title track to the record [and] it’s what started it all.”

Tedder has a handful of dates on his calendar, including another Fort Worth date in August, and an appearance at the State Fair of Texas on deck for October, but for now, he’s content to let the skillfully built, carefully considered songs on I Can Dream You find their way to interested ears.

“I didn’t want to preach; I didn’t want to get too autobiographical,” Tedder said. “I just wanted to make a record that was enjoyable for the listener — these times that we live in are always going to be turbulent. [So I wanted to provide] simplicity and enjoyment. That’s my favorite music to listen to, and that’s what I set out to give the listener.”

Making the act of creating music seem effortless — yet another paradox of recording an album Matt Tedder masters with ease.

Matt Tedder I Can Dream You album release concert at Tulips, Fort Worth. 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15-$20.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.