Born December 10, 1965 in Southern California, Matt does not remember any news stories about the Vietnam War – he does remember music.
“My father played banjo and I remember sitting on our stairs listening to him recording Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ on a little cassette player. I remember thinking, I wish I could do that. His voice was really very good – and I still wish I could do that.”
Jim Croce, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Pete Seeger, and the rock & roll of the early ’70s formed the backdrop for an appreciation of lyrics and storytelling.
“My mom says I would run around singing ‘Sunshine Go Away Today’ just so I could shout the word ‘Damned!’. I still love music for that freedom. My friend’s mom had an 8-track player in her car and we would be listening to Jim Croce (Rapid Roy) and Simon & Garfunkel (Baby Driver) all the time. Now my kids are listening to it too. It’s great!”
Picking up his father’s copy of Pete Seeger’s “red book”, a Mel Bay chord book, and a Guild classical guitar they still own, he taught himself to tune and then play guitar. The Crawdad Song, This Land Is Your Land, and Skip To My Lou became his first songs – songs he plays to this day.
“I believe we could eradicate a lot of the bad music that is being pushed on our kids today if we exposed them to Folk Music as a base. I’m serious about that. Once you’ve tasted strong lyrics, its hard to go back.”
He moved on to Rock and Roll, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Rush, and others but his love for acoustic music and more emotive lyrics never abated.
He began writing songs from day one.
“They sucked – my first songs… really repetitive, sappy stuff.. although, there is a song I wrote when I was 14 that I’ve pulled lyrical elements out of for other songs…”
In 1984 he met his wife to be, Laura, and she inspired a series of songs, including “Lady Love”, one that is a favorite among listeners. They started a family and then got married (in that order). After moving to Arizona in 2003, Matt had a book published – a life-long dream. Spurred by that success and other writing opportunities, Matt started to focus again on songwriting and performing.
He began playing some small coffeehouses around Phoenix, testing new material. In the meantime his relationship and life was becoming tumultuous.
July of 2007 proved to be the “month from hell”. In a 15 day period, his family endured a small flood in their master bedroom, a plumber fixing the problem lit a fire in the wall of their home- requring the fire department to tear out 8 feet of wall to extinguish the flame. On July 28th, the day before their 20th wedding anniversary, Matt & Laura separated.
The piece de resistance occurred a few days on July 31st. A monsoon storm caused the wash behind their home to overflow, pushing through their back fence and filling the backyard with more than 4 feet of mud and water. Water and mud poured through the windows, filling the house with more than 2 feet of water and mud – destroying everything at ground level.
This included several guitars, amps, and other equipment. Fortunately, no one was home and Matt had, in a last minute gesture, placed the guitar he had been playing at shows, an Ibanez his two oldest kids bought him for Father’s Day, on his bed – saving it.
The flood and the challenges of life in 2007 were the final exclamation point. Life is uncertain, time is fleeting, and passion should not be ignored.
His songwriting has taken on a nearly frantic fervor and through this site, house concerts, and other performances, Matt is building a loyal following of fans/friends who value lyrics, respect songwriting, and believe in passionate pursuits.
Photo by David Blakeman Photography
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Some additional images:
All of the kids are starting to play. These are images from a few years ago at Ventura Beach RV Resort.
Jess & I
|Matt (long hair days) & I||
Sara & I