Matthew Presidente: Standing in the Way of Love

“Don’t be distracted by another’s approach
When the path is clear you’ll know
I’ll be standing by to watch you grow”

Matthew Presidente, from Vancouver, BC dropped ‘Standing in the Way of Love’ right when I needed to hear it this last year. When I first listened to his 2020 single, ‘Standing in the Way of Love’, two things happened to me. First, I was transported to a rock show that I desperately wanted to be at. A rock show where I was hearing my favourite singer rock out on their piano with a solid band, organs ablaze, at first, an unassuming feel good two step. ‘Standing…’ is like a big sister type song that gives you a good dose of fair warnings. You know those songs, like ‘My Favourite Mistake’ by Sheryl Crow, ‘Beautiful’ by Christina. This song lifts me up and reminds me to stay on task, and not get distracted by the noise in my head, or the noise of other people wanting me to be someone I am not.

Sonically, this cut serves Sheryl Crow but also some Elton John, the twang of Lucinda Williams, the blues rock of Jonny Lang and a little gospel of Rilo Kiley. Presidente always gives a little soul in the way he fully voices the rhythm section. The chorus, which is no less Roy Orbison Croonage than even Roy themself would write, has those perfect harmonies that a Roy track would have.

At the second listen, I was moved to crying. Not a blubbery cry, but that tear of “ya, I feel very much seen, and I am going to be ok”. I was getting this voice of encouragement that we all need. Especially as a queer male identifying musician, I needed to hear this hook. The singer is telling us the real T right there in the chorus. Telling us to get out of our own way, and be genuinely ourselves, with no apologies. I wish I had this song when I was first starting out, someone pushing me to stay on track, to love myself, and literally do my own thing tenaciously. 

Presidente is the daddy we all want. His songs are all daddies that you can depend on for warmth, hugs, and honest rock and roll. Standing In The Way of Love is a daddy I will keep with me, and talk to him whenever I am feeling off track. I will hear them singing to me ” Don’t be distracted by another’s approach. When the path is clear you’ll know, I’ll be standing by to watch you grow”

Instagram: @mattyprez

review by Matt Katz

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