Matt Wertz sent me a video today. Filmed by Joshua Wicker and narrated by Jeremy Beasley of Florida-based Lincoln Supply Co., it documents the collaboration between Matt and Jeremy, and it’s the most elaborate video I’ve ever seen about the process of making a t-shirt.
There’s a lot I can say about Matt Wertz. He has impeccable taste in shoes. He loves a good burger. He’s a relatively adept hood-slider. Above all else, he’s a good musician, a good man, and he’s been a great friend.
He didn’t have to stop me that day in the college radio station when I was recording a couple songs I wrote for my girlfriend. He didn’t have to feign interest in my Taylor Big Baby or its rather generic, retro-fitted pick guard — the design of the Branson, Missouri musician from whom my father purchased it. He didn’t have to send me two reams of his CDs when I was living in Europe, most of which ended up in the coffee shops and clothing stores I’d stop in while traveling. And he didn’t have to stay in touch all these years, and miles, and cities later. But he does. For some reason, he’s remained a good friend. And I’m really grateful for that.
Anyone I know who has even a passing interest in the music of Matt Wertz has a story like mine. Always willing to stop and talk, pose for a post-show, sweat-draped photo, and he manages to make every night feel like it’s the best night of his life. He’s invited you to share in the celebration of his music. He’s the first one there and the last one to leave. He’s a friend to all. Which is why my story isn’t all that special, but my appreciation of the man I’ve watched him become is something rather special.
A couple years ago, at a mutual friend’s house in the suburbs of Chicago, he and got to talking about girls. About Women. I wasn’t sure where the conversation started, and I’m not sure exactly how it ended, but somewhere in the middle of all of it, I saw the man I first admired. He laid it out there. He explained what he was looking for, what all of us — those of us who are looking — look for. Quality. Above all else, he made it abundantly clear that for a relationship to really matter to him, it needs to be of a certain quality. Respect. Trust. Understanding. Compassion. Grace. Quality. It was then — and really, truly only then — I decided I was Matt Wertz’s biggest fan.
That’s why the last time I saw him, when he mentioned he’d been working on t-shirt designs for his new tour, I told him I’d do anything to help. After hearing me spout out a bunch of design ideas — opinions, really — he mentioned he already had the designs figured out with Florida-based Lincoln Supply Co., and had I heard of them. “Of course.”
I hadn’t. He always brings me to the cool. On top of being a world class singer-songwriter, Matt’s a world-class graphics designer, and seeker of, as mentioned, quality. This time, for the rather mundane act of printing tour t-shirts, he sought out the highest quality t-shirt maker he could find, one that makes small batches of the best stuff around. As their website explains, “We design, dye, rinse, wash all our tees right here in our shop.”
He likes his Women like he likes his Shirts. Quality. You can pick up one of his new shirts on his website or on his tour. You can be sure when I see him play House of Blues this weekend, I’ll leave with at least one of these.