Watch Matt Heafy deliver a poignant rendition of Johnny Cash’s Hurt cover on a Gibson SJ-300 acoustic

In just the past 12 months alone, Matt Heafy has released a new album with Trivium, teamed up with Behemoth's Nergal, MCR's Gerard Way and Emperor's Ihsahn for his black metal side project, Ibaraki, collaborated with KHDK on the In Waves boost pedal, and launched a new range of signature guitars with Epiphone, the MKH Les Paul Custom Origins Collection.

Oh, and in April he also showed an altogether different side to his creative disposition when he announced the release of his children's book based on Japanese folklore, Ibaraki and Friends. Yes, Heafy's quest for global domination is going swimmingly. 

But such productivity can't be sustained without easing off the gas pedal from time to time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even Heafy's relative downtime is spent guitar in hand, entertaining his sizeable YouTube and Twitch audiences.

In his latest YouTube video, Heafy picks up the acoustic guitar to deliver a faithful cover of Johnny Cash's 2002 version of Hurt, which was written by Trent Reznor for Nine Inch Nails' seminal 1994 album The Downward Spiral. Most appropriate for a Monday.

Matt Heafy

(Image credit: Press)

Armed with a Gibson SJ-300 – which he's been on record calling “arguably the greatest acoustic guitar that exists” – Heafy shackles his world-beating riffing chops in place of some subtle chord strums and crystalline arpeggios, which sit underneath a vocal performance faithful to Cash's recording. Check it out above.

While most in the metal community know Matt Heafy as the man at the helm of one of the most thrashing metal outfits in the game, he possesses quite the aptitude for softer styles, too.

Other examples of when he's eased off the distortion include his transformative 2018 cover of Killswitch Engage's My Curse, and the time he turned DragonForce's legendary power-metal anthem Through the Fire and Flames into a tender ballad. 

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.