In an interview with Local Spins, the one-time member of the iconic Fairport Convention talks about his music and an upcoming U.S. tour hitting several Michigan cities.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “MATTHEWS” in the message field and your name will be placed in a drawing for two tickets to his Midtown show in Grand Rapids on Sept. 7. Scroll down for an Iain Matthews video interview and performance.
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Iain Matthews has crossed oceans to share his songs with the world.
Hailing from Lincolnshire, England, Matthews has solidified himself as a vital figure in the rich history of folk music.
Performing with ’60s and ’70s acts such as Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort, the prolific songwriter with a tender voice has captured listeners far and wide.
Matthews, 77, who now resides in the Netherlands, maintains a busy touring schedule with a handful of Michigan dates in September.
He’ll play Fennville’s Salt of the Earth on Sept. 6 (tickets $22 online here), Grand Rapids’ Midtown on Sept. 7 ($20-$30 online here), Sept. 9 at The Lark Theater in Cheboygan ($26 online here) and Sept. 16 at The Starlight Room in Muskegon ($30-$40 online here).
“Being on the road is part of what we do as singer-songwriters. If I want to keep making albums and retain a profile, I need to be out there to grab people’s attention,” Matthews says.
“It’s a moral obligation to get out and present the music live. Besides, I like touring. Less than I used to, but the playing part is still fun.”
With a staggering number of album releases under his belt, Matthews‘ set will span his career and take listeners on a journey through the decades.
Veteran Grand Rapids guitarist and luthier Mark Swanson will accompany Matthews during his Midwest tour, along with Chris Bardolph on bass and Kevin Shell on percussion.
“Iain is a great guy with a ton of history,” Swanson said. “I am really lucky and thrilled to get to play with a guy who has been a big influence and musical hero ever since I was 17.”
Sometime referred to as “the British Jefferson Airplane,“ many regard Fairport Convention as one of England’s most influential folk-rock purveyors. The band received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2002.
Though his original material takes precedence, Matthews gained popularity for his 1970 cover of Joni Mitchell’s beloved “Woodstock” and Terence Boylan’s “Shake It.”
Other creative endeavors have included a memoir, titled “Thro’ My Eyes,” and a Dutch film which documents the making of his album, “In The Now.”
After touring Europe this summer, Matthews is traversing “the pond” to perform a handful of North American dates. Additional Midwest stops include Chicago and Milwaukee.
“Audiences can expect the works. The full monty. A live set that includes songs from my early days, up to today and a couple of brand new songs written this year,” Matthews said of his upcoming performances.
“If I have something in my book that someone wants to hear, I’ll try to play it for them. On this tour, I’m fortunate to have some friends (Mark Swanson Trio) joining me to help take the show from solo to a quartet.”
VIDEO: Iain Matthews (Acoustic Guitar Sessions)
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