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Matt Cranstoun to Perform Soulful Tracks off Upcoming Release at CMJ 2011

By Annie Reuter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Matt Cranstoun's powerful vocals make the listener take notice. Set to perform Saturday night at Brooklyn's The Rock Shop, his show will include three gospel singers and a full band.

With so many showcases during CMJ Music Marathon, Cranstoun advises music fans to support independent artists.

"Everyone should support independent music and art. Go to CMJ. See 10 bands perform. If you don't like one, walk out, you have the option to do that," he said. "That's the beauty of CMJ, there's so much going on. You can find 10 shows that you should enjoy."

Cranstoun began his music career at eight-years-old behind his father's drum set. Once high school came around he joined numerous bands and soon afterward decided to take the solo route and moved to New York.

"I didn't know what to expect so I came up here and started the real songwriter thing where you play by yourself. That was a whole new vibe for me and that's what I've been doing ever since," he said.

A big adjustment from his New Jersey suburbs, he says it was something he needed to do.

"I think anybody that moves here goes through a ton of phases. You're growing up, you're getting older. A friend of mine said, 'Every artist should spend at least six years in New York.' I can agree with that," he said as he recalled his transition.

"At first, I moved up here like a tourist, more like a fly on the wall so I just observed everything as if I wasn't part of it. Before I knew it, I was part of the chaos and everything that came with it."

Cranstoun soon noticed a shift in his writing. Over the past seven years he said the stories he wants to tell have changed.

"It became less about me and more about everything. More of a universal attempt; being more vague in the story you're telling as far as who it's about."

While he's hoping to catch friends' CMJ showcases, he said he wishes he had more time to explore the music scene. Currently promoting his upcoming November release, The Last Drop of Color, Cranstoun reflected on the task at hand.

"I want to do it the way they did in the '60s. I want to put a guitar on my back and I want to hitchhike and play music. If nothing happens, nothing happens. At least that's an experience."

Matt Cranstoun performs Saturday at The Rock Shop at 10 p.m. For more, visit his Website.

Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of

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