“We are still talking about how great you and The Rambling String Band performed at this year’s All Kids Included Family Arts Festival. Thank you for your professionalism and exceptional artistry. We already know that we want you back for three sets next year, too!”
Carla Hill (Theater Education & Outreach Manager) - South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
"What a great concert, thank you SO much for such a fun afternoon! Everyone in the audience, young and old alike, enjoyed hearing the stories and songs of our country. All the different instruments your band played, and hearing such beautiful vocal harmonies really made for a thrilling experience we will never forget."
Lisa Mansell (Sunday Matinee Music Series Manager) - Spanish River Library
“Miraculously, Hollywood-based folkie Matthew Sabatella has packaged a history lesson in the guise of a strikingly good album and a nerdaliciously compelling live show that tell the story of western expansion across the American heartland through song… ‘It's the kind of thing that will appeal to just about anybody,’ Sabatella says of the songs on Ballad of America Volume 1, most of which date back to the early 1800s. The crowd at the Bamboo Room reflected that sentiment, as moms, grandmoms, longhairs, blue collars, and a gaggle of wine-sipping, Virginia Slims-puffing ladies all clapped along and sang like ornery lumberjacks to lines like ‘And we'll range the wild woods over, and once more a-lumbering go!’”
Jonathan Zwickel - New Times Broward/Palm Beach
"Thank you so much for the amazing show yesterday! All day we have been getting rave reviews from the residents saying it was the best Fourth of July show we have ever had at John Knox Village. You all were great!"
Sara Berkowitz (Activities Manager) - John Knox Village
"Your program is fantastic! Thank you so much for entertaining our young patrons and their families at all of our branches this month. I thoroughly enjoyed your program and have heard great reports from other branches as well. Everyone loved singing along to the songs they recognized and I think that everyone went away more educated about the history of our state after the program. It is the ideal Viva 500 program and was everything that I hoped it would be. Best of all, it was enjoyed by young and old alike. I am a bit of a stickler for “family programs” that parents can enjoy as much as their children and your program was perfect. I am looking forward to having you return to entertain our patrons again!"
Cilla Jacobson (Youth Services Coordinator) - Palm Beach County Library System
"Just taking a moment to once again say your performance was just perfect! The rave reviews keep coming in. Thank you all for a wonderful show. See you again."
Marsha Decker (Clubhouse Manager/Social Director) - The Grove at Boynton Beach
"...Sabatella's best asset is easily his voice, urgent but unforced, sweetly melancholy in telling personal stories and powerfully evocative in rendering antiquated songs intimate again. It's a great gift, and Sabatella wields it with exceptional talent."
"Best Acoustic Performer" - New Times Broward/Palm Beach - Best of 2005
“Led by Sabatella's six-string guitar and his molasses baritone, the band's big sound rolls from Luna's makeshift stage across a room filled with tri-county patrons… Tonight's crowd is extra large, lining up against the walls and squeezed three deep between cases of beer and the cafe's ancient black refrigerator. Along with the band, almost everyone is singing: ‘Heigh, ho, and away we go; Digging up the gold on the Fran-cis-co!’”
Emma Trelles - Sun-Sentinel
"Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band are totally amazing! I cannot praise them enough! Matthew related all of the songs to the era of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It was wonderful. The entire band is great! They are personable, relate to the audience and can perform almost anything I’m sure"
Nancy Ansley (Programs and Exhibits Supervisor) - Broward County Library
"Wow... this group was so good. I loved them. The residents loved them, and we definitely want to have them back again. The fact that it is historic and interactive along with entertaining was unique."
Rebecca Waldorf (Director of community Relations) - Aston Gardens at Parkland Commons
"The folks in Union County thoroughly enjoyed Matthew Sabatella's performance of The Real Florida! Matthew's show was the perfect addition to our Viva Florida celebration at our local library. Thank you Matthew for a memorable, wonderful program!"
Mary Brown (Director) Union County Public Library
"Rare is the event that engages both me and my young ones in a genuine way."
Ben Crandell - Sun-Sentinel
“Matthew Sabatella and the Rambling String Band played wonderful classic Americana folk (at Barnacle Historic State Park) which made all the children dance and the parents clap.”
Liz Tracy – Miami New Times
"What an excellent production, performance, and presentation! Everyone should make an effort to attend one of his shows; it's perfect for all ages. You will be rewarded with a wealth of great music, singing and storytelling as you hear the true blue lyrics of the great folk songs of the U.S. This is an outstanding and original program."
Anne Kelly - Brockway Memorial Library
"Your program on Lincoln this past Sunday was awesome. Amazing how much you can tell about the man through his connection to music."
Patricia McDougle (V.P. Youth Education) - Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
"Thank you for another GREAT performance and lesson in history! The music was outstanding!! We NEED so much more of this! I think you were able to see how the audience responded....the children were up dancing and the adults were singing and clapping along the whole time!! BRAVO!!!!"
Linda Gail Sindt - All Kids Love to Sing
"This particular afternoon, Sabatella and his close-knit combo — Lynn Griffith on banjo and mandolin, Jack Stamates on fiddle, Sean Edelson on mandolin, and Chris DeAngelis on stand-up bass, with Sabatella on guitar and vocals — play to a tent filled nearly to capacity, its occupants clearly caught up in the familiar strains of the music and, just possibly, a certain whiff of nostalgia."
Lee Zimmerman - Miami New Times
"...when he bangs out chords on his chocolate-brown acoustic guitar and sings deeply into the mike, his songs begin to soar."
John Anderson - Miami New Times
"Matthew Sabatella's Ballad of America is an interactive program that incorporates American history, stories, and music into one fun-filled, educational program for all ages."
Michele Dye (Naranja Branch Manager) - Miami-Dade Public Library System
"Matthew Sabatella's Ballad of America has been a wonderful audio accompaniment to the artworks reflecting the American experience in Miami Art Museum's presentation of the exhibit American Tableaux: Many Voices, Many Stories. The selections fill a void in the historical/musical education of young people today. Culturally significant and often rare, Matthew's appealing renditions help preserve traditional folk songs while entertaining listeners of all ages with his knowledge and talent."
Kerry Keeler (Coordinator of Outreach/Head Gallery Teacher) - Miami Art Museum
"It's a connection to your past, to your history. People who don't know history don't have any sense of perspective in their lives. History is a way of knowing yourself, who you are. These songs are a window – one of many."
Howard Rock (History Professor) - Florida International University
“Through perseverance and hard work, American settlers turned their faces west toward the dream of finding new lives. In their struggle came the music presented by Mr. Sabatella. Matthew is a talented performer and a teacher not only of music, but of music which should be heard by all.”
Pastricia J. Adams-Sallustio (Social Studies Teacher) - Tequesta Trace Middle School
"Matthew Sabatella’s Ballad of America is a great way for students to learn about American history. It’s a novel approach for students and is sure to get them more interested in history."
Sandra Rosen (Assistant Principal) - Biscayne Gardens Elementary Community School
Ballad of America Volume 2: America Singing
“…seriously consider picking up this, the second volume of Matthew Sabatella's ongoing survey of historical American songs. The arrangements are fresh but traditional, the singing is great, and each track comes with historical notes.”
Baker & Taylor's CD HotList
"In his second excellent album, Matthew Sabatella sings 16 familiar and mostly traditional American folksongs in a rich baritone. The Rambling String Band joins him, performing beautifully on guitars, dulcimer, harmonica, banjo, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and washboard. The songs bring to mind the culture of America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Fun to sing along and harmonize with, this album belongs in every collection that values folk music."
Beverly Bixler - School Library Journal
“He's recasting traditional tunes… in faithful, well-worn renditions that probably sound much like they did originally, when early settlers making their way west across the open prairies spilled forth the tunes over old-fashioned campfires.”
Lee Zimmerman - Miami New Times
Ballad Of America Volume 1:Over A Wide And Fruitful Land
"Gold-throated troubador Matthew Sabatella was born to make an album such as Ballad of America. This low-key, acoustic opus is more a Folkways Smithsonian-style history lesson than a random assortment of wispy, coffee shop folk. Casual listeners, watch out: If you pay attention, you might learn something. Nothing if not deeply humanist, these songs reveal the sober, hopeful spirit of the men and women who found fortune, romance, and danger on the open range."
Jonathan Zwickel - New Times Broward/Palm Beach
“Over a Wide and Fruitful Land, the album's subtitle, rather neatly sums it up. Matthew Sabatella has assembled a credible song list, dappling America's pioneer landscape with evergreen folklore balladry. His wide-ranging vocal approaches are sensitive when desired, dynamic when untethered emotions dictate. The small group arrangements, at times pared back to a single instrument, are the "just right" sort of settings. This project works "because of", not "in spite of", campfire minimalism. Matthew Sabatella surprises in the most delightful ways. And this is only Volume One. Can't wait for the next leg of the trail.”
Eddie O'Strange - Host of Town & Country Radio Show - New Zealand
"Performer Matthew Sabatella's rich baritone voice perfectly complements stories of common folk... A wonderful resource for units on nineteenth-century American history."
Naomi Leithold - American Library Association's Booklist
"Matthew Sabatella, singer/producer/arranger, sings 18 traditional folk-style songs in a beautiful, slightly raspy baritone... Excellent background instruments include guitar, banjo, piano, tambourine, sandpaper blocks, fiddle, acoustic bass, drums, harmonica, mandolin, English concertina and bodhran... An excellent resource for schools and public libraries."
Beverly Bixler - School Library Journal
"...his love of this music is infectious and the arrangements are generally quite good. Recommended."
Rick Anderson - Baker & Taylor's CD HotList
“Sabatella has found a mother lode of nearly forgotten gems, many pre-dating the age of recorded music. He sings these work songs, laments and travelogues with a plaintiveness and thorough appreciation of their meanings and origins, and sets them to lively acoustic arrangements.”
Sean Piccoli - Sun-Sentinel
“Matthew's arrangements and deep, rich voice bring these old songs to life. Ballad of America is an important and enjoyable way to learn and remember American History. It gives us a sense of place. That's what folk music does -- it roots us in tradition. What he's doing is patriotic as much as anything else. He's giving us a good sense of America."
Michael Stock - Host of Folk and Acoustic Music - WLRN-FM
"I really enjoyed the more obscure songs which brought history and past viewpoints to life.”
Arthur Berman - Host of Pacific Pickin’ - CITR-FM
"He's... never sounded so comfortable as a leader as on the new Ballad of America."
Bill Meredith - Palm Beach Post