Matt Wickstrom

Matt Wickstrom is a freelance journalist based at the foothills of Appalachia in Waco, Kentucky. His passion for the music of Tyler Childers, Kelsey Waldon and other acts from his home state is only rivaled by his love of mountain drives, auto racing, University of Kentucky basketball and a good bourbon (on the rocks).

Railbird Festival Limestone Stage - Holler / Sarah Cahill

LIVE REVIEWReview: Railbird Festival

By Matt Wickstrom, August 31, 2021

Railbird’s merging of top shelf music, bourbon and horse racing culture helped to create an event that was uniquely Kentucky in every way imaginable.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Abby Hamilton

By Matt Wickstrom, September 27, 2022

A modern-day country queen slinging bourbons at The Burl one night and lighting up its stage with her songs the next, Abby Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with.

Sierra Ferrell by Keni Omdahl.

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Sierra Ferrell

By Matt Wickstrom, August 23, 2021

While prepping for a run of west coast shows, Ferrell caught up to discuss all things Long Time Coming, busking, Billy Strings, overcoming her anxieties and more. But before all of that, we started with food – a certain West Virginia institution in particular.

Marcus King - Young Blood Album Cover

STAFF PICKSMarcus King - Young Blood

By Matt Wickstrom, August 22, 2022

Marcus King channels the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath on Young Blood, the South Carolinian’s most polished and boisterous album to date.

Holler Country Music

ALBUM REVIEWBrother Smith - La Sinfonía del Vaquero Suburbano

By Matt Wickstrom, October 7, 2022

Dynamic vocals paired with a sonic landscape traversing everything from country to funk, soul, bluegrass, jazz, rock’n roll and more.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Brit Taylor

By Matt Wickstrom, May 24, 2021

Calling from a front porch swing on her Mt. Juliet, Tennessee farm with dog Whiskey by her side, Taylor candidly reflected on everything from using nature as inspiration to working on your own terms, while discussing the long and difficult road to releasing Real Me.

Joy Oladokun

INTERVIEWOne Hot Minute: Joy Oladokun

By Matt Wickstrom, October 8, 2021

Oladokun talks candidly about learning to open up during co-writes, how meditation and nature have kept her grounded and being an inspiration to others as a queer Black woman.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWHome Sweet Home: The Panhandlers

By Matt Wickstrom, November 22, 2022

The Panhandlers speak to Holler about the influence of West Texas, their favorite places to visit there and the significance of the iconic Billy Bob’s.

Artist - Arlo McKinley 1

INTERVIEWMy Essentials: Arlo McKinley

By Matt Wickstrom, May 13, 2021

As we sit down to mull over the five essentials he couldn’t live without, Arlo McKinley shares what kept him going through a period of self-doubt and what continues to bring him comfort in both music and life.

Artist - Emily Scott Robinson

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Emily Scott Robinson

By Matt Wickstrom, October 25, 2021

A truly nurturing soul, Telluride, Colorado-based songwriter Emily Scott Robinson has mastered the art of using music as a means of healing.

Tyler Childers by Emma Delevante

ESSENTIALSThe Best Tyler Childers Songs

By Matt Wickstrom, June 21, 2022

To celebrate his stellar discography and ponder what’s to come, Holler has compiled a list of some - but certainly not all - of the best Tyler Childers songs.

Town Mountain by Emma Delevante.

INTERVIEWHome Sweet Home: Town Mountain

By Matt Wickstrom, October 3, 2022

Sitting down in his Asheville home during a break from touring, Langlais and Greer spoke over the phone about their go-to spots in the bustling and artsy mountain town, in the latest instalment of Holler’s Home Sweet Home.

Live - Jade Bird 3

LIVE REVIEWJade Bird at The Burl in Lexington, KY

By Matt Wickstrom, May 17, 2021

It may have been billed as an intimate evening of acoustic music, but at their show at The Burl in Lexington, Kentucky, vocal powerhouses Jade Bird and Savannah Conley certainly filled the instrumental void (and then some).

The Local Honeys

INTERVIEWHome Sweet Home: The Local Honeys

By Matt Wickstrom, July 13, 2022

The Local Honeys sit down to talk about their home state, revealing some of their favorite places in Central Kentucky.

The Wooks - Flyin' High

ALBUM REVIEWThe Wooks - Flyin' High

By Matt Wickstrom, February 23, 2022

The Wooks pay homage to bluegrass tradition while pushing the boundaries of the genre on their third studio album, Flyin’ High.

Lilly Hiatt

INTERVIEWCuts The Deepest: Lilly Hiatt

By Matt Wickstrom, October 12, 2021

Lilly Hiatt catches up with Holler to discuss the music and albums most dear to her heart for Cuts The Deepest.

Jade Bird

INTERVIEWIn Conversation: Jade Bird

By Matt Wickstrom, September 1, 2021

As she tucks into a cherry bagel, cup of tea and chocolate orange, Jade Bird discusses her new album Different Kinds of Light, her transition to moving to the USA and why acoustic performance allows her to express herself with total honesty.

Artist - Gabe Lee

INTERVIEWThe Songs That Changed My Life: Gabe Lee

By Matt Wickstrom, March 17, 2022

Gabe Lee is the embodiment of the American Dream. He joined Holler to discuss his melting pot of inspirational influences; the music that made him the artist he is today.

Holler Country Music

LONG READRissi Palmer's Color Me Country: Championing Change

By Matt Wickstrom, June 22, 2022

“Platforms like Color Me Country have completely changed the game in country music. The work that it's doing for Black, Indigenous and other artists of color is incredible".

Holler Country Music

ALBUM REVIEWYonder Mountain String Band - Get Yourself Outside

By Matt Wickstrom, February 23, 2022

As they start this latest chapter on their musical journey, Yonder Mountain String Band have proven that even after 25 years they’re still open to innovating and pushing boundaries.

Think I'll Just Stay Here and Meme

INTERVIEWWho The F*** is Think I'll Just Stay Here and Meme?

By Matt Wickstrom, August 3, 2021

Electrician by day, meme king by night. That’s the Clark Kent / Superman dynamic portrayed by Jonathan Oost, a lifelong native of Owensboro, Kentucky and the brains behind Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Meme.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWThe Songs That Changed My Life: The Wilder Blue

By Matt Wickstrom, April 19, 2022

“Music is like a glue that seeps in between us all and helps us to realize how much we all have in common"

Holler Country Music

INTRODUCINGNew Artist of the Week: Sam Filiatreau

By Matt Wickstrom, June 2, 2021

Sam Filiatreau's self-deprecating new single 'Wrecking Ball' showcases his quirky lyricism.

Artist - Eric Bolander 2

INTRODUCINGNew Artist of The Week: Eric Bolander

By Matt Wickstrom, March 3, 2021

Kentucky singer-songwriter Eric Bolander has no problem cutting straight to the cold, hard truth in the soul-stirring country ballads he spins.

49 Winchester by Joshua Black Wilkins

INTERVIEWHome Sweet Home: 49 Winchester

By Matt Wickstrom, May 9, 2022

Calling in from a quick stint back home before heading back out on tour, frontman Isaac Gibson picks out a handful of his favorite spots in Castlewood, Russell County and Southwest Virginia that he swears by.

Holler Country Music

LONG READOh Boy Records: The Spirit of Independence

By Matt Wickstrom, June 13, 2022

John Prine's Oh Boy Records has always been - and always will be - all about the song; creating a space for songwriters and storytelling to flourish.

Grayson Jenkins

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Grayson Jenkins

By Matt Wickstrom, November 8, 2021

Holler catch up with Jenkins to discuss some of the inspiration behind Turning Tides, his serendipitous encounter with Sturgill Simpson and reflecting on how he’s grown since opting to pursue music full-time.

Artist - Leah Blevins

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Leah Blevins

By Matt Wickstrom, November 1, 2021

Chatting outside an East Nashville coffee shop, Leah Blevins discusses the long road to First Time Feeling, imposter syndrome, Appalachian stereotypes, adjusting to city life and more.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWIn Conversation: Blackberry Smoke

By Matt Wickstrom, May 26, 2021

Charlie Starr discusses working with Dave Cobb, the cultural misconceptions highlighted within You Hear Georgia and how he makes sense of genre classifications.

Artist - Kelsey Waldon

INTERVIEWOne Hot Minute: Kelsey Waldon

By Matt Wickstrom, October 21, 2021

Oh Boy Records artist Kelsey Waldon talks with Holler about her artistic bond with John Prine, finding her way in Nashville and more for Introducing.

Preview Railbird Festival

OPINIONPreview: 10 Artists to see at Railbird Festival 2021

By Matt Wickstrom, August 24, 2021

Our top artist recommendations for a weekend of great live music at Railbird Festival in Kentucky!

Mike and the Moonpies

INTERVIEWIn Conversation: Mike and the Moonpies

By Matt Wickstrom, January 14, 2022

Mike Harmeier caught up with Holler to discuss the concept of the working man, paternal influence, the band’s dancehall roots and more.

Holler Country Music

ESSENTIALSThe Best Nikki Lane Songs

By Matt Wickstrom, November 21, 2022

A modern outlaw who can out smoke, out drink and out sing the best of ‘em, Nikki Lane has been turning heads and breaking hearts with her music for over a decade.

John R. Miller

INTERVIEWIntroducing: John R. Miller

By Matt Wickstrom, July 12, 2021

Ahead of the release of Depreciated, we spoke with Miller about linking up with Rounder Records, chance musical encounters and his West Virginia roots.

Bendigo Fletcher

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Bendigo Fletcher

By Matt Wickstrom, October 18, 2021

Folk-rock melodies, a thunderous howl and wide-eyed performances - Bendigo Fletcher are Elektra Record's next best thing. Their frontman Ryan Anderson caught up with Holler to talk about the group's new album, 'Fits of Laughter'.

Holler Country Music

ESSENTIALSThe Best American Aquarium Songs

By Matt Wickstrom, October 18, 2022

With ten studio albums under their belt, the band’s blend of country rock, forthright songwriting and blue collar-mentality has earned them a devout legion of fans far and wide.

Live - Katie Pruitt 3

LIVE REVIEWKatie Pruitt and S.G. Goodman Live At The Burl, KY

By Matt Wickstrom, May 31, 2021

For many music lovers in Central Kentucky, the Burl is a home away from home, so to get to step foot back inside and lay eyes on the glowing stain glass behind the stage is nothing short of magical.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWIn Conversation: American Aquarium

By Matt Wickstrom, November 10, 2021

Holler recently caught up with Barham to discuss NASCAR, working toward a better south, 90s country, the long road to Lamentations and more.

Holler Country Music

ALBUM REVIEWEric Bolander - Can't Get There From Here

By Matt Wickstrom, February 16, 2022

While Bolander’s humility shines throughout Can’t Get There From Here, what’s also evident is his blossoming talent.

Album - Billy Strings - Renewal

ALBUM REVIEWBilly Strings - Renewal

By Matt Wickstrom, September 24, 2021

Renewal is Billy Strings’ Sistine Chapel; his grandest work to date that’s sure to cast a wide net of influence over bluegrass music for years to come.

Holler Country Music

ALBUM REVIEWCristina Vane - Nowhere Sounds Lovely

By Matt Wickstrom, April 2, 2021

Leaning heavily on old school rock and pre-war blues, Vane’s songwriting also explores paths of gospel, bluegrass, delta blues, country and even waltzes, resulting in a record that resembles a patchwork quilt of influences, both old and new.

Holler Country Music

INTERVIEWEast Bound and Down: Country Music and Trucking

By Matt Wickstrom, August 22, 2022

“As long as there’s country music, as long as there’s backroads, there will always be truck songs."

Great Peacock by Michael Weintrob

INTERVIEWIntroducing: Great Peacock

By Matt Wickstrom, October 11, 2021

Led by longtime friends and musical collaborators Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd, Great Peacock have been carving out folky, southern rock ballads for close to a decade.

Tyler Childers - Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? Album Cover

STAFF PICKSTyler Childers - Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?

By Matt Wickstrom, September 28, 2022

Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? is proof that artists like Childers should never be pigeon-holed; they can bring to life anything they set their minds to with flawless execution.