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Tampa's Matt Hires all over iTunes this week




That's not a Photoshop job: Tampa singer-songwriter Matt Hires is plastered all over the front page of iTunes this week in celebration of the digital release of his debut solo LP, Take Us to the Start.

That's Hires, front row center, and he's also featured in the "New and Noteworthy" section below. On Thursday morning, Take Us to the Start was ranked No. 10 on the iTunes album download charts, between Dave Matthews Band at No. 9 and Taylor Swift at No. 11. (It's since dropped a slot, but it's still ahead of Lady Gaga.)

"Definitely, on the first day, I didn’t expect it to make the top 10 on iTunes, so that was pretty awesome,"” Hires said Thursday, calling a tour bus en route from Nashville to Toronto. "iTunes doesn’t really let anyone know what they’re doing for the splashes on the main page. They kind of just do what they want to do, and put up whatever artists they want to promote. I was pretty surprised when I saw that."

Hires said the album, which has been streaming for weeks at, was downloaded about 1,175 times on Tuesday, the day of its digital release. It’s currently priced at $7.99 on iTunes, and it’ll be available exclusively in a digital format for the next month. An actual CD will come out Aug. 25.

Those who have already purchased Take Us to the Start seem to dig it. "Matt has a beautiful voice, and a way of singing his lyrics so they get you right in the heart," wrote one reviewer. "This is the first album I've encountered on iTunes in a while that was worth purchasing all songs," wrote another.

"A lot of people messaged me on MySpace and Facebook saying they’d never heard of my music before, but saw the stuff on iTunes and decided to check it out, so that was pretty cool," Hires said.

Hires has been touring the country for most of the spring and summer, alongside Paolo Nutini, Erin McCarley, Kate Voegele and others. Most of his shows have been solo and acoustic — a marked difference from his album, which is plugged in alongside a full band.

“I’ve actually done some of my first touring in the south. Most of the stuff I’d done before was out west, and in the northeast and everything. We just played Atlanta and Nashville, so it was nice to play a few shows a little closer to home.”

Tampa will get its next look at Hires on Sept. 4, when he plays the Orpheum.

Click here to check out a review of his June 26 concert at the Orpheum. And click here to read an earlier profile of Hires, including the story of how he got discovered on MySpace.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:11pm]


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