Big Meadow Sky
Big Meadow Sky started as a studio project. Lead singer/songwriter, Matthew Coen quit his full-time job as a naturalist in Yosemite National Park and spent the winter writing songs and working on arrangements with fiddler, Kristin Ramsey and drummer, Mark Albosta. The name of the project was inspired by Matthews home at the time. Big Meadow is the site of an old homesteaded ranch in Yosemite National Park. The song, Elizabeth's Daisies, chronicles the story of it's first European settlers. Matthew lived in the isolated old farmhouse for four years and composed many songs there. The trio found a funky studio in Sonoma County nestled deep in the Redwoods. Most days it rained like crazy which made the studio more cozy and relaxing, an energy you can hear on tracks like Tia, Raven and Wild in Our Eyes. The owner of Little Big Band Studio, Jeff Martin, created a great atmosphere for recording by allowing the band to live in his house/studio. He did incredible job as an engineer, musician and host; always willing to record late into the night. We even used his bathtub as a sound chamber for recording didgeridoo tracks and his kitchen to record the quirky beginning to Coffee Buzz. After two marathon studio sessions we mixed, mastered and released the album in October 99'. Shortly after the CD release we were asked to play for a benefit in San Francisco, opening for the popular west coast band, The Mother Hips. The venue was the legendary music club, Slim's, owned by musician Boz Skaggs. It was a huge moment for us, playing on a stage where we had seen some of our favorite bands, Uncle Tupelo, Poi Dog Pondering, X, etc. Our studio host, Jeff, joined us on bass as well as the phenomenal Sonoma County guitarist, Terry Keady. The place was packed with our exuberant mountain crowd, which seemed a bit of a shock the slightly sedate SF concertgoers. I never understood why it is but the folks in SF can be watching to the greatest live show ever and many react as if their watching it on a computer screen. They seem to absorb the show more intellectually than physically, all the more reason our mountain crowd made an impression on the big city club. We were nervous up there but the love in that room pulled us through. After the show the soundman commented that our band received the second loudest applause he had ever heard at Slims (The loudest? The lead singer of the popular 80's band, Berlin...who'd of thunk it?). We were there to celebrate and mourn the life of our dear friend, Joie Armstrong. The energy and emotion of that night created an event no one attending will soon forget. The band has continued performing, for eight years now, adding Greg Archer on bass and playing with musicians such as heavy metal guitarist, Phil Ketner (Laaz Rocket), keyboardist Jim O'mealy and the young and talented guitarist, Kyle Morrison. The band released a second CD in 2002. The title of the first album, Big Meadow Sky became the name of the band. The CD is called Opim, the Miwok word for Big Meadow. So to clarify, the first CD is by Matthew Leonard Coen and titled Big Meadow Sky, the second is by Big Meadow Sky and named, well, Big Meadow in Miwok...got it? Matthew moved to Colorado in 2001 with is wife Andrea (an accomplished Appalachian fiddle player) and son Jasper, taking up farming and ranching full time. The band still performs regularly around the Sierra, adding and creating new sounds to the already diverse palate of tunes. Their next project will be a live CD, capturing the energy of the Sierra stage.