Review: Matt Tiegler’s album ‘Hands Free Down Hill’

Album Review

By Ljubinko Zivkovic, Rock At Night Amsterdam

Review: Matt Tiegler – Hands Free Down Hill -Release date: October 6, 2023 

Chicago’s Matt Tiegler is a busy guy. Besides being a songwriter, he is an actor and a playwright. The latter two took quite a bit of time since 20 years passed since he recorded in the studio.

Now, he is back with a new album, Hands Free Down Hill. I’m still determining how his other two careers are going, but he should have visited a studio (any studio) a bit more often if we are to judge by the quality of the nine songs here. 

Or, he was saving the best songs for this album, as the quality of his pop-infused rock (you can call it power pop, too) is exceedingly high here. His key collaborator here, Evanston, IL-based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tommi Zender (who produced the album) and John Abbey (who mixed the album), had their hands involved in making it sound so good. Let’s remember that Zender brought a variety of guitars, percussion, keys, and voice to the album, much of which was recorded in his studio. The studio band involved certainly had something to do with it, too, as it featured veteran singer-songwriters Steve Dawson (Dolly Varden), Gerald Dowd (Frisbie, Robbie Fulks), Lawrence Brown, and Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering). 

Yet the whole album still mainly relies on Tiegler’s excellent songwriting, full of melodies that keep ringing in your ears.




︎ Hands Free Down Hill | Matt Tiegler ( 


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Ljubinko Zivkovic