Biography

Matt Lundquist on the Pedal Steel GuitarOtto Mobile is the original blues rock & country roll project of folkslinger Matt Lundquist. Pulling from a catalog of hundreds of tunes, Lundquist delivers his songs solo, with an acoustic folkestra, or with electric studs – Otto & the Moaners. With dual citizenship in Oakland, CA and Bloomington, IN, Lundquist has released two albums The Lost Songs of Otto Mobile and Restless Sun. His third album Cross Paths will be released in Fall 2015.

As a solo artist, Otto is known for pickin’ lonesome highway tales on his big Gibson Jumbo and coaxing milky sweet blues on a National Steel guitar with a slide. Songs that celebrate the simple pleasures of daily living – tunes that invite you to drink good beers on sunny afternoons and ballads that you want to wrap your legs around on a cold night.

When stretching out with Otto & the Moaners, Lundquist’s slide riffin rains fire and brimstone or fat wet drops on a quiet night. These songs, born of the Heartland, are layered with West Coast wanderlust and deep country dreamscapes. The Moaners come alive like they’re plugging tube amps into a Midwestern thunderstorm, and then waking up to the crackle of an all night log on the fire.

The Otto Mobile Folkestra is a backwoods baroque ensemble with steel guitars, cellos, fiddles, banjos, piano and multi layers of harmony. The combo warms up listening rooms, serenades cafes and gets intimate at house concerts.

Lundquist is also a pedal steel wizard who performs with TV Mike & the Scarecrowes, and Lexi Len & the Strangers. He has also performed and organized tributes to Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Sr. and Gram Parsons.

 

The story behind our second album, Restless Sun (2012)

Restless Sun is the second album by Otto Mobile and the Moaners. On it they blend West Coast whimsy with their Midwestern Roots Rock. Since 2008’s Lost Songs of Otto Mobile the band has tightened up its sprawling lineup. Now, the group has orchestrated a rounder sound with lush simplicity that serves this new batch of songs by Matt Lundquist.

All of Otto’s songs were written either in Oakland, CA or Bloomington, IN or somewhere inbetween. Lundquist is emerging as a confident songwriter and the band’s arrangements reveal a shared vision. The melodies are more enduring and his original phrasing lends potency to the words. The stories were culled at different times of the day to reflect its changing moods. The 1st two songs ‘Don’t Be Alarmed’ and ‘Restless Sun’ sound like sleepy sunday mornings, hung over but thankful to “let the day blow where it may”. Whispering pedal steel, dreamy organ and Elliott’s celestial vocals welcome the listener to another day. ‘Hung Over On You’ is a dizzy morning after with a sledgehammer chorus. Then, sleeping mornings give way to stoned afternoons on ‘Pining for

Colorado’, ‘Ol’ Blue’, and ‘One Step’ – Otto’s Highway Trilogy. These midday midtempo ballads are live staples in the Otto Mobile catalog. Halfway through the album, someone steps on the gas as the band burns through ‘Sunny Day Blues’, ‘Guilty As Charged’, and ‘Shady Side of the Street’. As the day gets dusky the stories also get darker. By the time they hit ‘Slow Train’ the frenzy is threatening to derail. The lone late night number, ‘Hold On For Dear Love’ is a sleep deprived lullaby to the world. The dreamy kaleidoscope of sounds are back as the listener is encouraged to lay back and “let the world keep turning.”

Lundquist sings his songs like a father to his kids. He also pieces together a symphony of guitars. The Gibson Jumbo, mother of the songs, is a steady and nurturing presence. His manic depressive Stratocaster fluctuates between sensitive tremolo tones, screaming guitar rock and melodic slide. Somewhere between Heaven and Earth, the pedal steel floats in and out of the words and rhythms. Lundquist can also be heard sucking and blowing on broken harmonicas.
The voice of Elliott Peck elevates and blesses the tracks with feminine charm. She lends angelic harmony (See ‘Restless Sun’) and badass soul power (See ‘Sunny Day Blues’) The original pairing of Matt and Elliott’s vocals shift dynamically between close knit harmony and counter melody. His style is earthy and simple while she is free to embellish with her vocal gymnastics. Elliott’s Wurlitzer and organ round out the band’s sound and provide a colorful chord bed for guitar hooks. Her acoustic piano composition in ‘Pining for Colorado’ is the driving force on this highway ballad.

Connor O’Sullivan is the sonic guru of the band. His bass playing follows the songs’ moods –  aggressive Gibson SG on the rock tunes, soft, round Fender P-Bass pulses on the lighter tunes and stand up Kay bass thumping on the folky numbers. He also adds dreamscape organ and rock style wurlitzer on ‘Guilty as Charged’.

Rob Schwartz lays down some tasteful drum tracks for the others to decorate with layers of sound.

This album was recorded over a slow burn at Connor’s studio in the Outer Richmond District of San Francisco. The lone engineer is Connor. Both Connor and Matt produced, arranged, and mixed the record.

 

The story behind our first album, The Lost Songs of Otto Mobile (2008)

One winter night while Matt Lundquist slept in a shack in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, he was visited by his great, great grand Uncle Otto – a banjo wielding ex-patriot of the Midwestern flatlands. In the resulting dream jam, Otto showed young Lundquist the secrets of the slide guitar and a songbook of unrecorded gems that he never got to record. Lundquist woke the next morning without the book, but with a few embers of inspiration to start a fire with.

After learning the melodies of the wind through the cracks in that Yellowood Forest shack, then learning slide to the beat of Big Branch Creek in the blue ridge mountains,
then deciphering the lyrics of his High Sierra backcountry dreams, Lundquist set off for the golden hills of Oakland to form a band that his ancestor could only dream of, ‘Otto Mobile and the Moaners’.