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Rider Essentials – Jess from Jess & Matt

by Mallory Arbour
Jess & Matt

Jess & Matt ’s trademark harmonies have grabbed attention around the globe. In 2015, their debut self-titled album hit #1 on the Australian Album ARIA Chart and their 2018 album, Songs From The Village reached #2. Now independent recording artists, the Sydney singer-songwriters recently released their first original album, Wildflowers – an ultra-personal document to musical freedom and intense self-discovery with songs about everything from dementia to dark times in their marriage.

The husband-and-wife duo had spent several years playing originals before auditioning for TV hit, The X Factor in 2015. By their second covers album, they found themselves working in Nashville and started plotting Wildflowers, inspired by the town’s confessional songwriting and back-to-basics musicianship. Their sound showcases influences of folk-rock and contemporary country, with a pop-centric approach based around the pairs lush harmony driven acoustic roots and honest songwriting.

We caught up with Jess and asked her to tell us five things she always takes on the road for this week’s Rider Essentials.


1. Matt (can’t leave him behind!)

Of course, a road trip essential is your duo partner, providing driving services, jokes, sometimes meal shouts (what’s his is mine) and overall good vibes. We’ve spent 2 weeks apart in our lifetime together and this year will be our 12th year, so we are no stranger to being stuck at the hip. Especially during lockdown, people have never seen their partners so much but it’s everyday for us!

2. Both our Cole Clark acoustic guitars

A very imperative tool for songwriting on the go, you really never know when an idea is going to hit at a toilet stop. Or even if you pop a tyre (this has actually happened to us on a highway and, whilst waiting for the angels in high-vis vests, we wrote a song titled I Popped A Tyre). We have the same acoustics that we first started our songwriting careers on, so they are pretty sentimental pieces and definitely essential for our road trips!

3. Manifesting journal

Keeping on top of our mental health is very important when we are on the road and writing in our journal tends to help ground us. Some would call it woo-woo and some just an OG diary! Full of hopes and dreams. This is a fairly new thing for us and it started when I was given a book by a dear friend titled Make it Happen a year ago. I never really believed in the whole manifesting concept that you can bring your visions to life if you write it down, but it really does work!.

4. Our UE BOOM speaker (our Ute doesn’t have Bluetooth)

Our old Holden Ute is very early 2000’s chic, doesn’t have Bluetooth and the radio crackles so we have to carry our speaker everywhere. Forget this and we’re in a world full of silence and the occasional cracker story (there’s a lot of pressure to deliver). I suppose this should be number one on the rider essentials … maybe even over Matt. Our favourite album that we blast through the speaker is Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves. It’s one of those records that really calms us when we are feeling stressed or uptight, the track Slow Burn really slows down the heart rate too.

5. iPhones charged up for podcasts

We love a good true crime podcast, so having our phones charged up with the speaker is very essential for those long drives. We must admit, nothing fills you with adrenaline like driving down a long remote country road, listening to creepy podcasts, hoping that you don’t break down. Keeping awake on long road trips is tough when we finish a show late at night and these podcasts certainly keep us awake (in fright)!


Keep up to date with Jess & Matt on their Facebook page here.

For more of our Rider Essentials series, go here.

Image: Supplied

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