JAYBIRD (2017):

“If you haven’t seen Graven yet, you need to check him out…there’s just this level of familiarity and it kinda seems like the same level of Pride that going to a Hip show has…He sings about listening to Matt Mays songs, he sings about traveling across Canada – it’s just a really wonderful, comforting time.”

– Noel Beausoleil, Live 88.5 FM

*Big Lake, Sky Summer listed in “Best Of 2017 Show” by Ryan Bresee (Host of Whatever’s Cool With Me, CKCU FM)

“Matty McKechnie, the man behind the music of Graven, had to take a trip through the darkness before he could see the light…The album draws its name, and much of its inspiration, from the fleeting moments he shared with East Coast rocker Jay Smith, the guitarist for Matt Mays whose tragic and sudden suicide in 2013 shocked the Canadian music world…After closing the latest chapter, one full of darkness and death, he’s turned to a fresh page by welcoming a new life into the world. His first child, daughter Sloan, was born on Christmas Eve.”
-Aedan Helmer (Ottawa Citizen)
“McKechnie is probably best known as Graven, a soulful singer/song writer who was a contender for CBC’s Searchlight music competition in 2015. His lyrics are like poetry, not surprising when you consider he started his musical career as a rapper from Nepean, cutting his teeth on old school hip-hop rhymes will also listening to classic rock. Though the first record he ever owned was Springsteen’s Born in the USA, it was rap that first really gripped him, inspired by the poetic wordplay of LL Cool J, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys…Here, McKechnie walks the ridges of an alt-country landscape planting seeds of folk-rock along the way. What sprouts up are songs he calls his “thickest”, “crunchiest” and “folk-rocky-est” to date.”
-Andre Gagne (Ottawa Life Magazine)
“If you were to delve into Graven’s most recent record Jaybird, you might find yourself feeling a sense of nostalgia. Graven is the ongoing alt-country/folk project of Matt McKechnie, a long-time musician, journalist, videographer… and whatever else it is he is really good at. He is supported by his band, The Dirty Hustle, who added some gritty layers and rounded out a lot of the songs on Jaybird. We walk the finely woven web of McKechnie’s memories and musings, reflections that translated into a concept for an album. Jaybird is the culmination of those efforts, and it’s a finely composed collection of folk songs that range from the delicate and solitary to the hopeful and anthemic. There is a search for meaning that lingers throughout, which is hinged to the impetus of this album – the transient nature of moments, the inescapable reality that all things in life are impermanent. The bird flies through one’s field of view long enough to create a snapshot in time, if only in the mind, and then it’s gone.”
-Matias Munoz (Ottawa Showbox)
“Delicate picking gives way to powerful strumming. Melodic whispers ascend into a booming chorus.  Songs about lasting friendships end, memories of fleeting moments begin.  Songs that invite you for the ride down the highways of the prairies. Songs that paint a picture in your mind that go well with a full glass and your mates by your side. Canadiana folk rock, your son is calling.”
-Adrian Gregorich (
“Ottawa musician Matt McKechnie also known as ‘Graven’ is a singer –song writer with moving, poetic, thoughtful lyrics…The 20-song album is about the idea that sometimes life is like a foreign film. It features themes of death, redemption, pain and solitude.”
-Adria May (
“It doesn’t take much effort to get this EP. The songs are made with honesty and heart and invite you along for a little drive down a black highway. It is a short trip any northwest music-lover should take.”
-Michael Dallas Miller (Burnside Writers Collective)
“I was quite taken aback by the sounds of the Valley Theory EP by the underground Canadian rockers Graven. As opposed to reaching out for the anthemic pop heights of its countrymen and women, these guys have opted for reinventing and revisiting some solid ‘90s Midwestern rock. If not for regular references to Northern touchstones like Halifax, the Northern Lights, and the Lodestar, Graven could easily and deservedly be mistaken for yet another hard-working bar rock band from the American Midwest. Matt’s sonic influences range from Wilco to Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, and the Gin Blossoms with twinges of Spoon and The Hold Steady present for good measure.”
-Adam P. Newton (Dryvetyme Online)
“Musically, the band puts the emphasis on a warm, spacious sound. It’s slightly fuzzy around the edges but never overdriven and never stretching past a comfortable gallop.”
-Bob Ham (PASTE, Portland Mercury, Stereogum)
“Graven may not set the world on fire, or even usher in a belated jangle-rock revival, but they’re good at what they do, and anyone else who pines for Toad The Wet Sprocket should find plenty here to enjoy.”
FEEL REAL (2013):
“(Matt’s) smooth, evocative voice meshed well with their mellow sound and his ability to mix singing while playing the guitar and harmonica was very impressive…The harmonica riffs were so reminiscent of ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ that the Tambourine Man himself might as well have been playing along with them.”
-Caroline Garrod (The Queens Journal)
“Graven’s lyrical content ranges from dealing with the everyday, skirting with the spiritual, to dealing with facing what you find digging through your old stuff in your parent’s basement…No matter if you’re young, old or somewhere in between, change in life is something we are all struggling with, and Matt might give you a fresh perspective.”
-Michael Pacitto (North Grenville Times)