Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band
Over a Wide and Fruitful Land: Ballad of America Volume 1 (Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band)
This was the first release of traditional American folk songs. It wasn’t originally a Rambling String Band release because the band didn’t exist yet. Some music sites have it listed as the Rambling String Band anyway. The journey on the album begins in the latter part of the eighteenth century when the United States of America became an independent nation. It follows the paths of the pioneers, sailors, lumberjacks, immigrants, ’49ers, farmers, slaves, soldiers, cowboys, and railroaders who moved the country across the continent and into the twentieth century. Visit the Rambling String Band website for more information about this album and the songs on it.
America Singing: Ballad of America Volume 2 (Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band)
The second volume in the Ballad of America series was recorded as the Rambling String Band was coming together, but we didn’t know we were a band yet. The album is sort of a “greatest hits” of American folk songs. Visit the Rambling String Band website for more information about this album and the songs on it.
Songs in the Life of Abraham Lincoln: Ballad of America Volume 3 (Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band)
The Rambling String Band recorded this album in the months leading up to the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. We were originally going to record just one song to mark the occasion, but as I researched Lincoln’s life, I found that he was a great lover of music. The album tells his story through the songs that held special meaning for him. Visit the Rambling String Band website for more information about this album and the songs on it.
America the Beautiful (Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band)
In the summer of 2012, I was on vacation with my family in Colorado Springs when the Waldo Canyon fire broke out. As flames engulfed the mountainside in view of the rented house in which we were staying, we hurriedly packed and joined the long line of traffic out of town. We were staying near the foot of Pikes Peak and didn’t yet have the chance to venture up the great mountain to its summit, where poet Katharine Lee Bates wrote the words to “America the Beautiful” in 1893. Upon arriving home from my trip unexpectedly early, I recorded this version of the song with the Rambling String Band. You can read about the history of the song and get the lyrics on the Ballad of America website.
When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band)
Recorded with Jack Stamates on cello. You can read about the history of this song and get the lyrics on the Ballad of America website.
We Shall Not Be Moved (Unity Congress)
In the summer of 2020, Rich Ulloa, of the record label Y&T Music asked me to produce a new recording of the song “We Shall Not Be Moved.” I invited some of my favorite singer/songwriters, including Mandy Marylane, Arlan Feiles, and Karen Feldner, as well as dobro player Dana Keller, to join me. We released the single under the name Unity Congress. You can read the fascinating history of this protest song on the Ballad of America website.
There Stands the Glass (Matthew Sabatella and Karen Feldner)
Our take on a great song written by Russ Hull, Mary Jean Shurtz, and Autry Greisham. It was a huge hit for Webb Pierce in 1953. It was a much (much) smaller hit for Karen and me in 2020.
In Spite of Ourselves (Matthew Sabatella and Karen Feldner)
The passing of singer/songwriter John Prine on April 7, 2020, affected us deeply. Karen wrote and recorded a beautiful tribute to him, “Oh, John Prine.” We recorded “In Spite of Ourselves” together. Y&T Music released them as a single.
The Dolphins (Matthew Sabatella and Diane Ward)
In 2017, Y&T Music released Everybody’s Talking: A Tribute to Fred Neil. I recorded one of his best-known songs, “The Dolphins,” with my friend and frequent collaborator, Diane Ward. You can find the album on all the major music and retail sites.
The Ballad of Penny Evans (Matthew Sabatella)
In 2020, I recorded “The Ballad of Penny Evans” for an album of protest songs called Put Down That Weapon (Make Music Not War) from the record label Y&T Music. The song was written by Steve Goodman and produced by Karen Feldner. You can find the album on all the major music and retail sites.
Never Let Me Go (Matthew Sabatella)
In 2017, I recorded a song for another Y&T Music release, 3 Chords & A Chorus of Lust: Songs of Jim Wurster. Jim is a friend and a great singer/songwriter. I’m joined by Trish Sheldon, with whom I also performed in the band Blue Sky Drive. You can find the album on all the major music and retail sites.
A Walk in the Park (Matthew Sabatella)
Before I became fascinated with old American songs and committed to performing and recording them, I was a singer/songwriter. From 2001, A Walk in the Park is the second of two albums I released as a songwriter. It received some good reviews back in the day. My favorite, by Sean Piccoli of Sun-Sentinel, called it “harrowing, gorgeous.” Below is a playlist of the album. You can also find it on all the major music and retail sites.
Where the Hell Am I? (Matthew Sabatella)
Released in 1997, Where the Hell Am I? is the first of my two albums of original material. It’s much louder than A Walk in the Park. One day, when I don’t have anything better to do, I’d like to remix it and strip it of some of the heavy guitars. That is, if the ADAT tapes haven’t disintegrated. Again, you can find it on all the major music and retail sites.
I have performed and recorded with many wonderful artists over the years. Below are some recorded highlights with me as a singer and/or instrumentalist.
I have been recording and performing with singer/songwriter Karen Feldner since around 2015. I sing, play guitar, banjo, bass, dobro, and whatever else I can muster up that suits the song. In 2019 she released four EPs in The Collection: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The EPs are available on all major music streaming sites. We also recorded performed the songs for corresponding video collections you can watch here. More information about our work together on her website.
I played bass and sang harmony with singer/songwriter Diane Ward for several years in the 1990s. I still jump on stage to sing with her whenever I can, and I have sung on just about all of her albums. Below is a playlist with a few highlights. I play bass on the first three songs and sing harmony on tracks one, four, and five. You can find her albums on most music sites.
In 2017, I played bass with singer/songwriter Darrell Arnold in a monthly residency at Luna Star Cafe in North Miami. Over that time, we also recorded the album Changing World. I believe it’s some of my favorite bass playing on record. You can find him on most music sites.
For much of the 1990s, I played bass in Amanda Green’s band. We recorded three albums together. The playlist below features a few highlights. You can find some of her music online, but she seems to be mostly undercover. And be wary – other artists are out there with the same name.
The first band I was in that played our own songs was Broken Spectacles. Ed and I were songwriting partners. We diverged onto our own paths in 1994. In recent years, I have provided background vocals on some of his music. The playlist below features some highlights. You can find him on most music sites.
2 Bottle Sunday
For some years around the 2010s, I was in an acoustic trio with Jamie Lee Ganger and Danica Rodriguez. They both wrote great songs, and we had a knack for vocal harmonies and arrangements. During this time, I got my first ProTools setup and ventured to record and mix a 2 Bottle Sunday album. Below are a few of my favorite songs, the first and third of which benefitted tremendously from the work of my amazing cello-playing friend Wells Cunningham. I played the rest of the instruments on the album, which you can find on most music sites.
I never played with Mary on an ongoing basis, but I recorded on a few of her songs. On the playlist below I play banjo on track one and bass on track two. You can find her on most music sites.
I was a busy boy in the 1990s. Brian Franklin played guitar in my band, and I played bass in his. Below are a few highlights. I’d include more songs, but it’s hard to remember which ones I played on. You can find him on most music sites.