About Matt Schofield
British Bluesman Matt Schofield is widely regarded as one of the most distinctive and innovative guitarists to have emerged on the world scene for several generations. He is rated in the top ten British blues guitarists of all time (Guitar & Bass Magazine) putting him in the company of such iconic names as Eric Clapton and Peter Green.
In his relatively short career Schofield’s prowess as a blues guitarist has taken his band to twelve countries; seen him playing with iconic guitarists like Robben Ford; and brought him high praise in the Penguin Book of Blues Recordings as one of only two living British artists in recording history to gain a maximum four-star rating.
Born in Manchester UK in 1977, Matt was immersed in the blues from a young age thanks to his Dad’s record collection. A professional guitarist from age 18 Schofield left it relatively late to start his own recording career, choosing first to learn his trade as a sideman, initially with bandleader and harp player Lee Sankey. He then spent four years with British Blues Diva and David Bowie prodigy Dana Gillespie, touring the UK, Europe and as far a field as India.
Seven years into life as a pro, he formed his own band – a trio – with Hammond organist, Jonny Henderson and drummer, Evan Jenkins (now with BBC Jazz Award winner, Neil Cowley). The trio was unconventional in having no bass player, bass duties being handled on the Hammond organ, a format favoured over the years by American bluesmen such as Albert King and Jimmie Vaughan.
The result was The Trio, Live, an eight-track taster of things to come. For what was a low budget, off-the-cuff and all-covers recording it elicited high praise along with airplay on both sides of the Atlantic and a BBC Radio 2 live session.
With his two subsequent releases (05’s Siftin’ Thru Ashes and 07’s Ear To The Ground) Schofield consolidated his sound, delivering a powerful mix of Blues and New Orleans funk unlike anything else on the block. It was hard to pigeon-hole a band that could mine a deep blues trench one minute, effortlessly pull off a Meters anthem the next and then just as successfully revitalise the sixties Box Tops song, The Letter.
Fast forward to May, 2009 and Schofield’s third studio recording Heads, Tails & Aces. This time Schofield has a bass player and an album with a greater focus on blues. Gone are the interspersed instrumental funk tracks that characterised previous albums and led some commentators to label Schofield as much jazz, as blues. In their place is an entirely song-based album, with nine of the eleven tracks written or co-written by Schofield.
The breadth of material on this album is impressive, spanning everything from the smouldering Malaco-like soul groove of War We Wage, to the eccentric back-beat driven Betting Man and the Jazz-tinged Nothing Left, the latter lulling the listener into relaxed mood before climaxing in a tension-drenched extended outro.
Schofield’s seamless playing has always embodied the great stylistic moments of American blues guitar, but the two cover versions on this latest album – interpretations of Freddie King’s Woman Across The River and Elmore James’ Stranger Blues – make any comparisons irrelevant. Underpinned by Jonny Henderson’s constantly empathetic keyboards, Schofield stamps his own style on proceedings, slamming into solos that burn with an intensity rarely heard these days and even more rarely in combination with such a technically fluid and melodic approach.
Matt has produced three highly acclaimed albums for Ian Siegal, 2005’s Meat & Potatoes, 2007’s Swagger and his November 2009 release, Broadside, which is MOJO magazine’s Blues Album of 09.
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