Matthew Holtby Wonders If You’re Reading This Now

The Ontario singer-songwriter pens a note of concern with his latest single.

Matthew Holtby leaves you a cryptic farewell note in his multi-layered and moving new single and video Reading This Now — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

There’s more than meets the ear to the veteran Ontario singer-songwriter’s latest release. At first blush, the lyrics paint a bittersweet picture of someone — perhaps an ex-lover or an ambitious dreamer — regretfully but boldly leaving their small town for the big city:

“If you’re reading this now, odds are I’ve already left town
A few cities in between the new skyline where I’m looking down
A few empties on the floor and a note on the door of your house
The silence reminds me of what’s left behind me for now.”

Meanwhile, the gently strummed acoustic guitars and breezy folk-pop soundtrack dovetail seamlessly with the song’s nostalgic vibe and Holtby’s warm yet wistful vocals. But as the words accumulate ominously, you might start to wonder whether the song’s protagonist has actually taken a trip that’s more permanent:

“If you’re reading this now, please remember the good times we had
Don’t forget about the moments we tried, we cried or we laughed…
You don’t need another reason to leave me if you’re reading this now
I’m a long way away but you’re safe
And I know you’re better off this way.”

Perhaps only Holtby knows the story behind the song — and how it turns out. But there’s no question you’re better off with this track on your playlist. His second release of 2024, Reading This Now captures him and his band doing what they do best: Crafting emotive and thoughtful music. Along for the ride is longtime friend and producer Micheal Phillips, who also steered the band toward Scott Middleton’s High Wattage Cottage Studios near Belleville for drum tracking.

The song is the first of several singles on the way, as Holtby professes to be at his “most prolific time of writing ever.” The Warkworth, Ont., artist has been slowly adding to his collection of singles one song at a time for the past two years. Last year saw the release of two independent singles that garnered some attention and helped land him a few festival spots. He also had the pleasure of opening for legendary blues rocker David Wilcox to a sold-out crowd in his hometown of Oshawa. Holtby is looking forward to a very busy and exciting year ahead.

Watch the lyric video and an acoustic performance of Reading This Now above, check out more from Matthew Holtby below, and find him on his website, Instagram and TikTok.


Photo by Bryan Reid