I was introduced to Wendy Matthews when my mother sang The Day You Went Away in the shower, so my thoughts about this singer were distorted by the voice of dying cats.

It wasn’t until a few years later with the release of her album Beautiful View that my love affair would take place -” musically speaking, of course.

Her career reached peaks with early successes and has had a lower profile with the departure of Sony BMG a few years ago. I guess the lyrics in Matthews’ tune Free -” I’m free like the wind, independent once again -¦ yeah I’m gone -” would end up having a literal meaning.

Barking Bear Records is the new independent label which recently released her covers album, She.

There’s an alarming trend going on in that record companies are almost insisting that their artists do covers or their own hits reworked. People don’t seem to want to look forward, just back. They don’t want to hear anything new, Matthews told Sydney Star Observer.

So for those of us who want to keep moving forward, this was my compromise -” to choose songs that were not huge hits, but songs that have made me the singer I am today. I make the record I need to at the time, and hope others can relate.

I suppose the records change according to what’s going on in life, but I don’t follow the fashions of music so I guess it will always have certain sonic elements -” real instruments, real people playing them.

The beauty of a record is that the words, the moods speak for themselves. They’re stories and a reflection of one’s life personally and professionally. It’s been exciting and I’m learning how to put out records on my own label now, so the next project is under way and still taking shape.

Matthews has been touring with Ian Moss and will showcase the album next year. She features songs from people as diverse as Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Karla Bonoff and Jane Siberry.

These were songs I loved during my teens and twenties from women I admired at the time, she said.

I like to think that a record is a capturing of a certain time, and eventually has a mood and look and personality. The tracklist determines the journey for the listener. The band on the record are people I’ve been working with for years, so it was a pleasure to go in and play together and three days later, have the bulk of the record done.

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