I first found out about Matt Tedder when I used to work with his sister. She’d tell me about her little brother being a musician, but then I finally got around to checking him out, and he’s a regular blues dynamo. His sound invokes all of the masters, and while he’s taken his guitar with him to Nashville to chase his dreams, he’s still born and raised in DFW and he’s currently in residency at Magnolia Motor Lounge. Here’s what Matt had to say.
Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?
MT: My dad was really into guys like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. He used to sing a lot of songs like that around the house with an acoustic guitar. I remember being interested in music, but it wasn’t until I found an electric guitar that I became addicted. The first genre I attached to was the blues, because of guys like Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter. The way they played and sang sounded so real and heartfelt, which gave me something to aspire towards. And I was set on being a musician when I first picked up the electric guitar when I was 7. It was all I wanted to do. Once high school came around, the option of college came up and I turned it down. I figured the earlier I start at this stuff full time, the better.
Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
MT: Rootsy Rock N roll. Like putting blues, folk, soul and country in a blender.
Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?
MT: B.B. King has to be well up there. He was the only idol of mine that I ever got to meet. It always makes me get so much more into an artist’s music when they are nice people, and he was the nicest to me. Musically, what a master? He puts so much raw emotion into every lyric and every note. Ray Charles is a huge influence because of his versatility. He put unique interpretations on all of my favorite genres of music and I always thought that was so cool. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, because of everything: simplicity, tasteful musicianship, authentic songwriting, and their longevity. They put out another record last year that I thought was golden, after 40 years of being together. And lastly, for this condensed list, the Rolling Stones, my favorite Rock N Roll band.
Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?
MT: “Down the Road” means a lot to me. The song itself is pretty straight forward about a restless feeling and an ambition I still feel to travel. It seems like the crowd always enjoy it when I play out too, and when that happens with a song, there’s no forgetting that one.
Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
MT: I would love to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or the Rolling Stones, because they are some of my favorite classic rock acts still around putting on killer shows.
Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?
MT: I found the London Souls online not too long ago, a rock band out of Brooklyn, and they are nothing short of amazing. Locally, I think Rise & Shine, Jonathan Tyler, and the Texas Gentleman are solid artists really keeping Rock N Roll alive on the scene.
Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?
MT: The first Crosby, Stills & Nash record. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, that record is flawless.
Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?
MT: My favorite thing about the scene is the people. They’ve always been really supportive to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. My least favorite thing is that it could be so much more. This city is steeped in musical tradition, from Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas & Fort Worth sits on a gold mine of musical history, and yet we don’t attract as many music lovers as somewhere like Nashville does. I think more people need to know about this place!
Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?
MT: Magnolia Motor Lounge. It has great sound and atmosphere.
Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?
MT: Rise & Shine, those guys rock.
Me: And for shits and giggles, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
MT: I would love to be able to dance like James Brown…
Matt Tedder is yet another young player with a passion for the history of the music he plays. He wants to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big ghosts, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to think he can’t. He’s a fabulous player who’s still quite young, so expect a long career doing what he loves. You can catch Matt every Tuesday until the end of the year at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth.