“The 21 songs on 2012 are each delicate aural paintings of raw depth and beauty which stand up to repeated listening because of their elemental nature. Whether she’s singing about a man going to his death (“Crow Song”) or observing the rare transcendent grace of the world around us (“Blackbird Fly Away”), Serena doesn’t mince words. Hearing these compositions all in one place after all these years simply accentuates what makes them so memorable and indispensable. Serena doesn’t want fame, but she’ll continue to have a rapt audience as long as she continues to release such stunning music. 2012 is a stirring example of Americana at its finest, and it deserves to be savored.”
“ As you listen to Serena’s songs, you get the feeling that she is mournfully content. There is a lament for things past, but she cherishes her life for what it has become. There is wisdom to her songs, as she takes the most mundane items in life and shows us how we relate. There is no fluff or filler, no embellishments or white lies. In a world full of people who always want more, Serena encourages listeners to stop and smile at what they have now. Even though her music is understated, it has the ability to command your attention, to get you to pause, even if only for a moment.... ...Perhaps one of the best compliments an artist can receive is when there is no mainstream artist to compare them to. Serena’s voice and style is rather unique, and the only artist who she could be even loosely compared to would be the vocals of Macy Gray. That is, if you took Macy to Tennessee and put a guitar in her hand. ”
“That peculiar voice? Its timbre is reminiscent of a less polished Hope Sandoval, with a hint of the Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins in there, along with the rawness and brute honesty of a young Hazel Dickens, and at times a pronounced and savvy blues streak that will manifest itself at the most unexpected moments and with a certain startling twist in her slurred phrasing reminiscent of Lil Green. Mesmerizing, riveting, wounded and unself-consciously funny at times .... Serena’s vocals are never less than honest and heartfelt expressions of, it seems, exactly what she’s feeling at the moment, with no evidence of an editor’s hand at work as she tells her stories. Other artists talk about being an open book; Serena Matthews is an open book--it’s not even a close call to say so. Stranger still, the voice, sometimes a bit sandpapery, soft but with depth, is of indeterminate age--she might be eight years old, or eighty.”
“Matthews, singing in a searching, haunting, little girl’s voice with the slightest of a blues drawl and accompanying herself with rudimentary, spare, acoustic guitar atmospherics, may well be the female Nick Drake.”
".... She sings all the songs you wish Victoria Williams would sing if she wasn't trying to sound like a 6 year old. Serena is the girl from all those Whiskeytown albums that Ryan let get away. Serena is the girl that would easily win Nashville Star if she would ever sell out and audition for it but she can't find it in her to be the girl who waits in line for hours only to be critiqued by Gina Gershon's brother. Serena is the girl who could probably sell a lot more records if she didn't let her family come before her work, but she knows never to let that happen. So, if you enjoy an acoustic guitar and a soft twang in a voice, singing to you beautiful folky ballads, then I have found your new favorite muse...."
"Oh that voice! This is where she really shines. A unique, sultry, baby-doll voice that holds the listener to the song and makes you want to have another listen. Her lyrics are heartfelt and well done, but it didn't matter what she was saying."
"Serena Matthews has the lyrical prowess of Cohen and the musical sensibilities of Beth Orton. I cannot put into words just how captivating Serena's vocals are (and believe me, I tried)." The unique angelic voice is a wonderful hook for any song, and is highly effective in keeping the attention of the listener."
“In her "Backstreet Cafe" she shares a dream or two and finds a way to breath words like "pretty" and "crazy" with such intensity that a 5 minute cup of coffee becomes an hours stay just to hear what she says next. I would daresay that her simple arrangements offered online are so classic that to see her live and to own her complete set of recordings would be a great investment in serenity.”
"A truly gifted songwriter with a sound all her own, Serena draws her strength from powerful lyrics and a voice of an angel that overwhelmingly moved me.. Serena speaks from the heart, and to the heart, singing songs about life and creating poetic imagery through her lyrics. Mild use of effects like reverb and echo in the right places casts an especially haunting and dreamy portrait for the listener. Dreams for the Broken gets a strong recommendation from me as a CD that songwriters can learn from."
"Hailing from Tennessee, Serena has cultivated a talent for songwriting, and a sweet, smoky voice that's both wistful and hopeful."
"Serena Matthews's distinctive, slightly raspy voice gives her bare-bones, folk-country pop a girliish appeal."