Scott Matthews’ ground- breaking debut album, Passing Stranger earned him serious critical acclaim with its bold mix of folk, rock, blues and Eastern-inspired song-writing, and in 2007 his first single ‘Elusive’ won the Ivor Novello Award for ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’. From here Scott went on to perform on a number of international sell-out tours with respected artists such as Bert Jansch, Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, Foo Fighters, Rufus Wainwright and Tori Amos.
Subsequently, Robert Plant came onboard for a guest contribution on Scott’s follow-up album, Elsewhere, and down the line legendary double bassist Danny Thompson joined Scott on his third release What The Night Delivers, having encountered each other whilst performing in Joe Boyd’s stage production of Way to Blue – The Songs of Nick Drake.
The vision for albums four and five were, however, much closer to home with Scott recording Home Part 1 in 2014 at the bottom of his garden in his home-built musical abode. This organic means of creating music from his home in the West Midlands inspired Scott to set up his own record label in 2016, ‘Shedio Records’, on which his fifth album, Home Part 2, was released.
Whilst his own experiences are often the inspiration for his song- writing, books, films and art sit at the heart of many of his songs. Strongly rooted in the Midlands, there is undoubtedly inspiration to be found here with its rich musical heritage, and Scott often references the landscape and its characters in his writing. The social realist work of writers such as Alan Sillitoe and the kitchen sink dramas that followed, such as Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and The L-shaped Room, have influenced his own lyric writing with their reflections of humble, working class life.
About his early start as a musician Scott says “Fundamentally, I’ve always been a guitar player since the age of eleven and it’s the only instrument I can hold confidently and assuredly and write songs with”. His vocal style has been much referenced in ethereal terms of “ghostly”, “haunting”, “eerie” and “hypnotic”, so perhaps there is magic afoot.
“I was closer to 20 before I started getting into the realms of acoustic guitar playing. Neil Finn is a pivotal artist who helped me to bridge the gap between understanding how I could incorporate all the things I’d learnt on the guitar and how it can be a trusty tool in pursuing my craft for writing songs. I then discovered the open tuning approach to guitar playing through John Martyn, Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, Davy Graham and Joni Mitchell, which over night seemed to blow my whole creative world wide open.
With five records – and counting – 2017 sees Scott embark on material for what will be record number six, which is due for release in April 2018. More akin to his live solo shows comprising of simply voice and guitar; the as-yet untitled album will be an opportunity to experience a song-writer stripping back the musical layers to expose song-writing at its purest.