Matt Malone is a singer-songwriter originally from Ballarat in Victoria, now resident in Melbourne. His music has a lineage of blues, country, folk and gospel traditions of the American, British and Australian past. His third album, For the Term of My Natural Life, will be released on 21 July.
The title song, which has been released as a single, was inspired by Marcus Clarke’s novel For the Term of His Natural Life, and invokes the story of the central character, Rufus Dawes. Malone read the book during the first Covid-19 lockdown and related to Dawes and the story of his unjust judgment and imprisonment: ‘When you received a life sentence in the 19th century, the judge would declare – “you will be imprisoned for the term of your natural life”. I think that relates not only to a prison sentence but to life overall – we are here for the term of our “natural” lives. As the perennial saying goes – life is suffering, the hope in it for me, is it also implies a life beyond this world, a supernatural or eternal life.’
The song is a musing on destiny and the inescapability of certain circumstances in life, an Australian gothic take on faith and identity, and while the narrator seems resigned to his fate the refrain is repeated with a certain determination that suggests he may break free.
The video, which is having its premiere here today and can be seen below, is set in the Australian landscape with all its promise and peril, reflecting the duality in the song. It was filmed around Ballarat and positions Malone as the narrator, alone but looking outwards to the world, again suggesting that freedom beckons.