Matt Arthur has spent most of his life living just outside Hope, in rural Southern Minnesota. He learned to sing by listening to gospel records from Tennessee Ernie Ford and Johnny Cash, and decided that’s what he wanted to do when he grew up. He gave it a good shot in the 1990s, when his first band (Prest Asbestus) played everywhere in the Twin Cities, sharing stages with such local luminaries as Babes in Toyland, Run Westy Run, and Soul Asylum—as well as national acts that included Vic Chesnutt, Tad, and the Afghan Whigs. When the band ultimately fizzled, however, Matt headed back south and settled in tiny Ellendale (pop. 691).