Richmond singer-songwriter Matthew E. White’s greatest strength is his gift for piling horns and strings on top of each other into a big, soft, luxurious wall of sound. Playing live, he can’t call on his pocket orchestra of studio musicians, and so he needs to switch things up. Last night on Letterman, he made the transition beautifully. Making his late-night TV debut, White had a horn section and three backup singers, but it still felt like a bare-bones version of his studio band. So they turned “Rock & Roll Is Cold,” the first single from White’s lovely new album Fresh Blood, into a terse, needling funk-rocker. Letterman enjoyed the hell out of it. Check it out below.
Fresh Blood is out now on Domino.