Old folks sometimes say that the Blues is dying, but so long as new cohorts of young players are inspired to express themselves through this powerful medium, we have nothing to worry about. Matt Schofield is a young Englishman who has grasped the legacy of the Blues, and like Clapton in the 60s and Stevie Ray in the 80s, he is re-interpreting the old traditions for a new generation, and showing that expressive music, played from the heart, retains its infinite capacity to make you laugh, cry and dance like a fool, whatever your age.
Matthew Schofield was born in Radcliffe, Manchester in the north of England in the summer of 1977. He grew up listening to guitar heroes like Hendrix
and Clapton, but when his Dad showed him a video of Stevie Ray Vaughan jamming with BB King
and Albert Collins
, he was truly blown away. His old man would always point out the roots of a tune so through SRV, Matt discovered Albert King
, through Clapton to Muddy
, Buddy Guy
, and on into the Delta
, and from Robben Ford
back to some Jazz legends. In the late 1990s, Matt took his guitar to London and joined harp player Lee Sankey’s group, co-producing their record ‘My Day is Just Beginning’. Several years on the road as a side-man, all over Britain and Europe, often with Blues diva Dana Gillespie, honed Matt’s guitar chops, but he wanted to play the Blues with the freedom of a jazz player, over some funky drums.
Funky drums, jazz chords & Blues guitar: that’s the formula!
This project came to fruition in 2004 with the live album ‘The Trio’, with drummer Evan Jenkins and keyboard player and long-time friend Jonny Henderson.
Although bass has been added in various quartets and quintets over the years, and Jonny plays bass in the studio, his solid left-hand bass runs and funky Hammond riffs have been fundamental to Matt’s Trio sound. That sparkly ’61 Strat‘ sound got Matt noticed very quickly as an up-and-coming Blues rocker, and his vocal style and songwriting talents were evident on his debut studio album and another live CD in 2005, ‘Live form the Jazz Café’, with a blistering version of Albert Collins’ ‘Lights are On, But Nobody’s Home’.
Swapping solos with Jonny keeps the level of musical innovation consistently high, and Matt’s gut feeling for the Blues and superb technical chops make his live shows absolutely memorable.
This is Matt’s fourth album, and he has really hit his stride. He plays guitar, sings and produced the record, and co-wrote all but two of the songs, borrowed from Freddie King
and Elmore James
. So this is pretty much what goes on inside his head and it sounds great.
This Jazz flavoured album has its heart and soul is in the Blues. Matt’s guitar work has jazz elements recalling ‘Skunky’ Baxter and Robben Ford, but Buddy, Eric, BB, Freddie and Albert are always there, not to be copied, but to be emulated. He can write a song too!
Heads, Tails And Aces
British Blues Awards for Matt for Guitarist, Jonny for Keyboards and Best Album for ‘Heads, Tails and Aces’ in 2010 was recognition of the arrival of a great new band. Since then Matt has jammed with his heroes Buddy Guy and Robben Ford; played The Albert Hall; and toured extensively in Europe and The States. Matt has produced three albums over a long and productive relationship with Ian Siegal, with his blend of Blues and Americana winning several Awards. Matt recorded his own 2011 album ‘Anything But Time’ in New Orleans, where some funky local musicians and producer John Porter, lent a new twist. Further studio and live albums; an instructional DVD and several Masterclasses; tours of North and South America; even more Blues Awards and a strong following on the Festival circuit make Matt Schofield look like an old hand at a young age.