Brian Matthew
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Brian Matthew

Azusa, California, United States | SELF | AFM

Azusa, California, United States | SELF | AFM
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04/14/2011

Music review by Sean Patrick, West Hollywood, California

The nature of the music business, of course, has changed drastically in the last ten years.  One thing has not changed at all: a musician has to love what he’s doing, be good at it, and keep doing it.  Anyone who gets into the music business, as a musician, is lost without that passion, and dedication.
To be sure, it’s easy enough to find a great used guitar, or drum kit in Los Angeles.  For every person who shows up in this city, bright eyed and optimistic, there’s one at the other end who’s given up, and sold his axe.
In between are countless talented, and driven musicians who have it in their blood, and perform show after show for the love of it.  And those who really keep at it, and are really good at it, begin to make inroads, and begin to make their band, if not a household name yet, a solid name around town. 
The best of them figure out a way to make a solid living, in music, even if it’s not platinum selling albums that do it.  Opportunities begin to surface.
Brian Matthew’s most recent opportunity was to open for John Popper, of Blue’s Traveler fame, at the Key club on March 2.  Brian’s mix of a bluesy, sometimes reggae, and certainly jazz beat adds flair to the rock and roll, and it was a great pairing of sounds on the bill.  Brian is no stranger to Jazz, having played Steve Allen, Jeff Hamilton, and Ernie Watts.
Opening with “Anywhere Bound”, Brian and co-writer John Lacy’s take on Everyman’s hard day hit home with me.  “It’s been the hardest damn day I ever had.  It seems like every time I turn around there’s another sure thing good deal gone bad.” 
It’s a lyric that feels almost universal, but not so desperate.  “You and I will be anywhere bound.” It puts a little hope back in to know that someone’s going with him.
True to that thought, that music is his life, Brian has been a music educator and school band director for almost twenty years, and he plays trumpet, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, as well as keyboards.  It’s that trumpet that hooked me that Wednesday night.
The intro to “Messenger” starts with an infectious riff with trumpet, and a smooth bit of a reggae feel.  While the listener is swaying to the beat, and that brass is cascading over you, there is a universal flow in the lyrics. 
“What is the name of God?  Is it Vishnu or is it Bob?…If I’m right, others are wrong, can’t well all just sing songs of love?” 
The song isn’t a sermon, but rather more of a common truth.  “Be it Jah Ras Tafari, or Christ on the cross, Mohammed or Moses, the love is not lost in a name.” 
The lyrics happened to fit my personal philosophy very well, but it also gives a more dogmatic person something to think about.  And if you didn’t want to think too hard, you could just listen to that trumpet fill. 
Everyone has a break up song in his or her heart.  Some of us cry listening to what others wrote, some of us cry writing it.  “Groovin’ On” can’t have been an easy song to write, but it did the job. 
“We could be lucky or we could be strong.  Everybody needs a change, sometimes the changes take too long.”  That would be all I’d ask, either to be lucky or strong, but in those moments, alone, we all feel the opposite. 
“Things will look brighter, we’ll just wait and see.  You know I’m a lover and a fighter, just you wait and see.”  Sooner or later we have to pick ourselves up and break the hold that person had on you, or at least loosen it enough to carry on.  It was a perfect set closer.
Brian Matthew’s talent with multiple instruments matches his openness and handshake.  His album, “Now Is Good” was nominated for a 2010 LA Music award, and Brian is also a member of Deep Fryd, a band based in Visalia, CA.  His band that night was full of his friends:  Marcus McMillan on guitar, Dan Davis on bass, with Dana Parker on keys, Dustin Johnson on Drums, and amazing tenor sax by Vince Hizon. 
These aren’t just his buddies, they are all talented, working musicians that came together to support this songwriter on one of his big shows.  
The sound Brian built was fantastic.  You can check out some of his tracks at myspace.com/brianmatthew229. 
No matter how good the show, and opportunity for Brian was, it’s still about the passion for the art.  Kids learning music have a role model in Brian, and musicians working the circuit do, too.
The nature of the music business, of course, has changed drastically in the last ten years.  One thing has not changed at all: a musician has to love what he’s doing, be good at it, and keep doing it.  Anyone who gets into the music business, as a musician, is lost without that passion, and dedication.
To be sure, it’s easy enough to find a great used guitar, or drum kit in Los Angeles.  For every person who shows up in this city, bright eyed and optimistic, there’s one at the other end who’s given up, and sold his axe.
In between are countless talented, and driven musicians who have it in their blood, and perform show after show for the love of it.  And those who really keep at it, and are really good at it, begin to make inroads, and begin to make their band, if not a household name yet, a solid name around town. 
The best of them figure out a way to make a solid living, in music, even if it’s not platinum selling albums that do it.  Opportunities begin to surface.
Brian Matthew’s most recent opportunity was to open for John Popper, of Blue’s Traveler fame, at the Key club on March 2.  Brian’s mix of a bluesy, sometimes reggae, and certainly jazz beat adds flair to the rock and roll, and it was a great pairing of sounds on the bill.  Brian is no stranger to Jazz, having played Steve Allen, Jeff Hamilton, and Ernie Watts.
Opening with “Anywhere Bound”, Brian and co-writer John Lacy’s take on Everyman’s hard day hit home with me.  “It’s been the hardest damn day I ever had.  It seems like every time I turn around there’s another sure thing good deal gone bad.” 
It’s a lyric that feels almost universal, but not so desperate.  “You and I will be anywhere bound.” It puts a little hope back in to know that someone’s going with him.
True to that thought, that music is his life, Brian has been a music educator and school band director for almost twenty years, and he plays trumpet, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, as well as keyboards.  It’s that trumpet that hooked me that Wednesday night.
The intro to “Messenger” starts with an infectious riff with trumpet, and a smooth bit of a reggae feel.  While the listener is swaying to the beat, and that brass is cascading over you, there is a universal flow in the lyrics. 
“What is the name of God?  Is it Vishnu or is it Bob?…If I’m right, others are wrong, can’t well all just sing songs of love?” 
The song isn’t a sermon, but rather more of a common truth.  “Be it Jah Ras Tafari, or Christ on the cross, Mohammed or Moses, the love is not lost in a name.” 
The lyrics happened to fit my personal philosophy very well, but it also gives a more dogmatic person something to think about.  And if you didn’t want to think too hard, you could just listen to that trumpet fill. 
Everyone has a break up song in his or her heart.  Some of us cry listening to what others wrote, some of us cry writing it.  “Groovin’ On” can’t have been an easy song to write, but it did the job. 
“We could be lucky or we could be strong.  Everybody needs a change, sometimes the changes take too long.”  That would be all I’d ask, either to be lucky or strong, but in those moments, alone, we all feel the opposite. 
“Things will look brighter, we’ll just wait and see.  You know I’m a lover and a fighter, just you wait and see.”  Sooner or later we have to pick ourselves up and break the hold that person had on you, or at least loosen it enough to carry on.  It was a perfect set closer.
Brian Matthew’s talent with multiple instruments matches his openness and handshake.  His album, “Now Is Good” was nominated for a 2010 LA Music award, and Brian is also a member of Deep Fryd, a band based in Visalia, CA.  His band that night was full of his friends:  Marcus McMillan on guitar, Dan Davis on bass, with Dana Parker on keys, Dustin Johnson on Drums, and amazing tenor sax by Vince Hizon. 
These aren’t just his buddies, they are all talented, working musicians that came together to support this songwriter on one of his big shows.  
The sound Brian built was fantastic.  You can check out some of his tracks at myspace.com/brianmatthew229. 
No matter how good the show, and opportunity for Brian was, it’s still about the passion for the art.  Kids learning music have a role model in Brian, and musicians working the circuit do, too.
- WeHo News


Discography

Brian Matthew - Now Is Good.

Photos

Bio

Brian is a singer-songwriter-musician, a multi-instrumentalist who has performed in many bands, playing a wide variety of music including jazz, rock, blues, funk, latin, psychedelic and folk. Brian plays the trumpet, guitar, mandolin, bass, ukelele, keyboards and sings lead as well as harmony vocals. The album "Now Is Good" was nominated for a 2010 Los Angeles Music Award. Brian has worked in the studio and recorded with members of Tower Of Power & War. He has also performed with jazz greats Steve Allen, Jeff Hamilton, Chuck Findley, Si Zentner, Ernie Watts, Pete Christlieb, Gary Foster and Carl Saunders. Brian has also proven that he is "ready for prime time" by appearing on TV as an on screen performer on "Boston Legal" and all 5 episodes of David E. Kelley's "The Wedding Bells."

Band Members