Primary Instrument: Guitar
Born in Manchester on August 21st 1977, Matt Schofield grew up listening to the sounds of his Father’s collection of classic blues LPs. Already familiar with the music of Muddy Waters, Freddie, Albert and B.B. King, along with contemporary guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, he began fooling with the guitar around the age of 7, after his family had relocated to Gloucestershire.
However, after a brief spell with the bass guitar, the defining moment for Matt came at age 12 whilst visiting his Dad who had by now moved to Northern California. There he saw a video of B.B. King, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan jamming together that blew his mind. It was unlike anything he’d witnessed before and the sheer power and virtuosity of these artists left a permanent impression.
Returning home Matt immediately formed a band with his schoolmates, and by age 13 had performed his first gig. Local gigging in and around Gloucestershire and Wiltshire followed including bands with Jonny Henderson, still organ player in Matt's trio, until at the age of 18 he started venturing to London with friend and fellow guitarist James Henderson to check out the blues jams. After finishing school and heading out for a lengthy stay in the U.S.A, taking in gigs and learning first hand at the feet of American blues greats, Matt returned to the UK and at age 19 moved to London to turn professional.
He was quickly welcomed into the tight knit London blues scene and immediately joined the Lee Sankey Group, recording the critically acclaimed 1997 debut album “My Day is Just Beginning” and it’s follow up - the live/studio EP “She’s Not Alone”. Matt played and toured with Lee for the next 4 years.
Always in demand, Matt found time along with countless one night pickup gigs, to be in as many as five different bands at once, including developing his ongoing association with current Nugene Records labelmate Ian Siegal, and his work the piano player Dino Baptiste. In 1999 Matt played on and co produced Dino’s debut album, and along side Dino and drummer Evan Jenkins, who currently holds the drum chair in Matt's own trio, he found himself as guitarist for British blues diva Dana Gillespie appearing on three of her albums and touring the world extensively including unique trips to India and the Caribbean.
His time in London with these bands proved to be a huge learning experience, opening up avenues to future ventures, and allowing Matt to develop his fluid and versatile style amid many different musical contexts. It also afforded him the chance to perform with many great international blues artists at festivals and concerts throughout the world. Personal highlights, to name just a few, include the privilege of opening shows for Robben Ford and Jimmie Vaughan - two other favourite musicians and vital influences for Matt.
In 2002, along with being asked to perform in Poland as part of a one off super group “The Best of British Blues” with vocalist Earl Green, Matt was invited to take part in The Lester Butler Tribute Band - a tribute to the late great harp player and vocalist from The Red Devils and Thirteen, featuring one of his original rhythm sections from Los Angeles. Two European tours and a live album were the results of this hugely popular project.
The Lester Butler Tribute also spawned Matt’s occasional project, The Urban Achievers, a band with “Big” Pete Van Der Pluym, the vocalist and harp player who filled Lester’s shoes for the tribute, along with a kicking Dutch rhythm section, contributing a track to the Harmonica Posse - Driving Savage Groove compilation album on the Dutch Coolbuzz label.
In mid 2003 Matt signed to the newly established Nugene Records label, and the Matt Schofield Trio was officially born. The critically acclaimed 2004 debut CD ‘The Trio, Live’ with organist Jonny Henderson and drummer Evan Jenkins is a melting pot of energetic swinging blues and powerful funk that draws inspiration from the classic American jazz organ trios of the fifties and sixties, and mixes this with guitar-led blues and funky instrumental workouts. The result is a distinctive and highly charged sound, described by one music critic as “astonishingly mature for such a young group of musicians”.
With a year of solid touring behind the Trio, including wowing audiences throughout Europe at their first festival appearances as a band, Matt started 2005 by producing and playing on Ian Siegal's latest release Meat & Potatoes, and performing songs from that album during a coveted main stage performance at the North Sea Jazz Festival in front of a 10,000 plus crowd.
Attention now turns to Matt's new album for Nugene Records. Using the same band line up that performs so powerfully on the live CD Siftin' Thru Ashes marks the studio recording debut for the Matt Schofield Trio, introducing Matt's colours as a fine songwriter as well as cementing his place as one of the most gifted guitarists on the contemporary Blues scene.