The blues is music that traveled on trains and steamboats from the Mississippi Delta to the neon streets of Memphis, Chicago and St. Louis. For MattyTWall – a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader – it is the supernatural sound that crossed the ocean to Perth, Australia to ignite his imagination and give power to his art. A young man with an old soul: Matty is connected to music with a wealth of history as he distills a diversity of genres into his own blues-influenced soul, jazz and rock signature.
His points of references are wide; he has studied and played a spectrum of styles including flamenco, swing jazz and funk, and he attests to a love for “heavier things” in his youth, bands like Metallica and Sepultura among them. But he remembers how the musicians he admired would honor the blues masters who came before them. And following the trail of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan backwards, he was hooked. “I discovered Robert Johnson and he made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” he remembers. “I got into the blues and have never gotten out of it.”
As a guitarist, Matty wrings raw emotions from single notes, stretching and bending the strings of a Les Paul into sounds both persuasive and human. While he is capable of blazingly fast leads, he also drives the beat with percussive punctuation and solid assurance. With his vocals, he coils along the lines of the guitar. “I enjoy using my voice as another instrument,” he avows. He says that his songs are primarily riff-driven, and he compiles his musical notations into a catalog of 50-100 concepts that he can call up when lyrical inspiration strikes.
In performance, Matty fronts a band of seasoned pros to support his songs. His preferred configuration is a trio: where the guitar has plenty of air around it. “Sometimes playing with a bigger band is a strait jacket,” he observes. “With a trio I can go crazy.” While the music that Matty plays has roots in the past, he is a very much an artist in the present. Through his reverence for historic musical forms, he is not emulating, but redefining these sounds, as he introduces classic genres to new listeners and invests them with his own trademark.
With plans to record in Australia and the U.S., and to hit the road touring, MattyTWall is headed toward the proverbial destination of the bluesmen: the crossroads. “I am like an elastic band pulled really tight, ready to go,” he says. “That’s how I feel about my music.”
Leigh Miller has joined on as our full-time bass player, coming from some of Perth's top bands such as the legendary VDELLI and the always working Slim Jim & the Phatts, he toured Europe with Ric as the rhythm section for VDELLI, playing Sweden Rock and many other massive international venues over many years. Now, relocating back in Perth from Germany after touring Europe, Leigh is ready to take this band higher with his solid, soul shaking grooves and versatility.
He has worked with Olivia Newton-John, James Reyne, Grace Knight, Ross Wilson, Angry Anderson, Yothu Yindi, Dave Gleeson (Screaming Jets), in addition to more Orchestras than I can count on one hand. He knows his way around a double bass too, and hopefully we will be exploring some of that.
Ric is a third generation drummer having played his first paying gig at age 10. Rick worked with many of the iconic Perth rock bands of the 70’s and 80’s as well as being in demand as a studio musician for jingles, CD’s and film scores. Ric Whittle has played for too many people to remember, including Aussie legends like John Farnham, Johnny O’Keefe (The Wild One) and Matt Taylor.
Ric has worked with most of Australia’s touring artists over several decades as well as The Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and Munich Symphony Orchestra.
Teaching privately, in public and private schools as well as running The Drum Workshop and partnering Chris Brady in the in the Colonial Drum stick company, there’s very little that Ric has left undone.