Matty T Wall is one of the hottest blues artists in the world right now. He’s the only Perth bluesman ever to be nominated for seven Independent Blues Music Awards. His last three albums have been back-to-back number one hits on Australian Blues Radio, and number one in US blues charts. He’s gone head-to-head with the hottest guitar player in the world right now, Eric Gales, on his latest album, Transpacific Blues Vol. 1. He’s won so many national and international awards he’s had to build an extra room to house them all… OK, I made that last bit up, well the part about the room, the bit about the awards is true. Wall is the man when it comes to the blues.
…what Matty T Wall and his band are going to give you is some of the tightest, hottest and plain juiciest original blues music you’ll hear anywhere.
‘So how come I’ve never heard of him?’ I can hear you saying to yourself right about now. Well, good question. For Wall, it’s something about the blues as a style of music.
“It can unfortunately get relegated to the unpopularity heap,” Wall said, “or seen as too old, despite the fact that blues still influences so many genres in the world and is still cyclical in the pop charts. Also, to many people, the word itself – blues – implies sad music, when that could not be farther from the truth. In fact it is some of the most joyful music around. It feels like an uplifiting type of music to me.”
If you ever get to the chance to see Matty T Wall in full flight, you’ll get to know what he means by ‘uplifting’. The man is a blues guitarist and vocalist whose performance style has all the polish of Eric Clapton and the energy and unpredictability of Dennis Greaves, who fronted late 70s English cult blues maniacs, Nine Below Zero. You know the music is going to be damned fine, but almost anything could happen while Wall and his band are on stage.
Recently, Wall almost lost it all to injury, herniating a couple of discs in his back. There was a moment there when he though he may have lost it all.
“That was scary,” Wall said. “As someone who has spent decades playing, it is part of my routine in coping with the world. It felt like losing a limb maybe…well, actually it did for a while. Spinal injuries can be extremely life-altering, so I was perhaps trying to prepare myself for the worst, whilst at the same time working as hard as I could with rehabilitation.”
Thankfully for Wall and for his growing fanbase, he made it back through an arduous program of rehab and, something that he known and respected for in the music world, hard work, grit and determination.
It’s slowed Wall down a little bit, but the music is still the same.
“I now have a back brace that I’m using for gigs,” said Wall. “I’m no longer jumping off Marshall stacks and playing guitar behind my back, I’m just concentrating on the playing, which is actually a refreshing change rather than worrying about the ‘performance’. The band has never sounded better. Tight and powerful.”
So, he may not be as big into the on-stage histrionics as he once was, but whenever you see him live, you can be guaranteed that what Matty T Wall and his band are going to give you is some of the tightest, hottest and plain juiciest original blues music you’ll hear anywhere.
And, as for the guitar playing, because, let’s face it, that’s what we really turn out for, isn’t it. Well, Wall is an absolute virtuoso. He can make his Gibson howl and moan like some devil and a bunch of angels are making love. It’s going to haunt you, this man’s guitar playing. You’ll be hooked right from the get go.
“Blues guitar is all improvising,” said Wall, speaking about his craft. “Occasionally you have a written part or riff, but blues solos should just go to where it feels good, where the moment takes you. And that feeling has a lot to do with the dreaded ‘guitar face’ when playing notes emotionally. You have to forget everything you’ve learned about the theory of music and just feel where the notes want to land next. Your body just goes along for the ride. It does sound very esoteric, but this is the way instrumentalists have played for centuries. Learn everything you can, then forget it all and just play.”
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Matt T Wall and his band play The Rosemount Hotel on Saturday 7 August with Old Blood, Vibrolators and DJ Bee Rizzi. Get tickets here.