Reading all the classics is inspirational just in the shear mastery of language that these writers possessed and demonstrated. To have some experience and knowledge of that background helped with my language and vocabulary.
Rock music is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when reading William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. But songwriter Matt Guilherme, ’22, finds a connection to the literary icons he studies in his Bridgewater State University English classes.
“Reading all the classics is inspirational just in the shear mastery of language that these writers possessed and demonstrated,” he said. “To have some experience and knowledge of that background helped with my language and vocabulary.”
An English major from New Bedford, Matt writes songs, plays lead guitar, and sometimes sings lead vocals for Left of Love. The rock band draws inspiration from genres such as rap, rhythm and blues, classical music, and jazz. It recently made its over-the-air radio premiere when campus radio station WBIM’s Fresh Off the Press played songs from the band’s EP Overgrown.
“This was totally unexpected and super exciting,” said Matt, whose classmate made WBIM deejays aware of his music. “To be a student on Bridgewater radio was awesome.”
Matt also performs in the acclaimed wedding band Closing Time, which was named wedding band of the year by the website The Knot. That gig helps him pay for a college education he has found very relevant to songwriting. He has particularly appreciated writing classes with Evan Dardano and Dr. Sarah Fawn Montgomery.
“They taught me how to express myself creatively with words,” he said. “Even though it’s not in a musical way, it’s very much storytelling.”
Being a BSU student also presented him a new avenue through which to share his music. Fresh Off the Press, heard from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, highlights lesser-known bands from around the world. The show has developed an international audience. But co-host Jared Wilkins, ’23, jumped at the chance to showcase something much closer to Bridgewater.
“I want to have more student bands (on air),” said Jared, a communication studies major from Uxbridge who hopes to keep the show going after he graduates. “It’s important to get their voices heard. It doesn’t matter the genre.”
Mainstream radio typically only plays the most popular artists, but there is a wealth of great music that never makes it on those airwaves, Jared said.
“Music itself is a tough scene to get into,” he said. “A lot of people do stick with those safe choices. We want to help expand people’s tastes and horizons.”
Do you have a BSU story you'd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.