13 Year Old Bluesman Matthew Davidson up on the Back Porch
We last saw Matthew Davidson at this year’s IBC. Matthew was participating in the youth showcase, and was blowing the crowds away. The Shreveport, Louisiana native has been popping up at shows, events, and festivals all over the map lately, and has nowhere to go but upwards as he continues his blues musical odyssey. We finally sat down with Matthew to talk about his influences, what got him into the blues, and his gig playing in Mardis Gras parades!
How did you get into the blues? You’re thirteen. Not a lot of thirteen year olds even know what “blues” is, let alone love it and play it well!
When I first started playing the guitar, I listened mostly to The Beatles and learned a lot of their songs. After a while, I started venturing out and listening to other types of music, and found that I really liked Stevie Ray Vaughan and some other blues artists. Then, last August, I got invited to play at the Delta Blues Fest in Greenville, MS and the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS. I learned a lot of blues songs for those sets and then it just continued from there.
Tell me about your biggest musical influences?
My biggest influences are The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and ZZ Top.
What can folks expect out of your live shows??
People can expect to have a great time at a Matthew Davidson Band show. We have a lot of fun on stage together. My drummer, Greg Clifford, is 15 years old and is awesome. Bruce Flett, our bassist, has been in the music business for over 35 years. He knows all about being in a band and has been a great mentor to Greg and me. We play lots of high-energy, upbeat tunes. We bring tambourines and maracas to our gigs and encourage the audience to join in the fun.
We’ve personally caught your shows at the International Blues Challenge, Ground Zero Blues Club, Sunflower Fest… you’re all over the place! You must be working pretty hard! Cal you tell me a little about your experiences playing all of these blues festivals and famous places? Which one(s) would you really love to do that you haven’t done yet?
I suppose I have been working hard, but I enjoy it so much that it really doesn’t seem like work. I’ve been blessed to have had so many opportunities to play at blues festivals and places like the House of Blues in Dallas and B. B. King’s in Memphis. I appreciate all of the people who have believed in me and given me invitations to play.
I’d love to travel more and play at places further from my home in Shreveport, LA. It’d be neat to play at Antone’s in Austin, House of Blues in Chicago or B.B. King’s in New York City.
Tell me about the International Blues Challenge this year? You played at B.B. Kings and we got to see you and the other guys in your category compete in a blues trivia competition for a cash prize! How’d the IBC turn out for you??
It was a great experience! I got to play my Youth Showcase set at the Blues City Café, which was really neat. Then, it was amazing getting to join in a jam at the B. B. King’s Blues Club. I got to play a set with musicians from all over the world. I really appreciate the Arkansas River Blues Society for sponsoring me.
I heard you were in a Mardis Gras parade?
We were actually in two parades. The band played on a float in the Krewe of Centaur parade. There were thousands of people on the route. We couldn’t throw beads because we were performing, but lots of people threw beads at us! At one point, the driver had to come to a sudden stop, and I fell down with the microphone stand ending up on top of me. My dad was on the float and he helped me up and we kept rolling. The Matthew Davidson Band was asked to be the Grand Marshal of another parade, and we got to ride in a convertible and throw beads to the crowd in that one.
Tell me about your plans for the future? What do you still want to get into? Where do you want to take the band from here?
In the future, I’d like to do some recording and touring, and play larger venues and festivals. I definitely hope to have a long and successful career in the music business. I love making music and will do it until my fingers can’t play anymore!! Haha.
What upcoming shows do you have?
I’m performing Sat., June 11 at the B. B. King Homecoming Concert in Indianola, MS. Then, The Matthew Davidson Band is kicking off the T. B. Walker Blues Festival in Linden, TX on Friday, June 17th. We’re also on the lineup for the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR on Oct. 8th. In addition to these, we’ve got lots of local gigs at festivals and other venues.