Matthew Shelton's Picnic

Matthew Shelton's Picnic


A new standard in acoustic, lyric-driven confessional songwriting. Audiences have been consistently blown away by Shelton's performances, which present his sincere songs with a wholly unique voice, with guitar and african kalimba/mbira that is forceful and dynamic. Not your typical singer-songwriter


Matthew Shelton has consistently stood out in his performances and songwriting as a musician who has absorbed and assimilated a myriad of styles to create his own unique voice. Folk music was his first musical love. As a young boy, his heroes were Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce and others. Simultaneously, he was enamored with Prince and early hip-hop as well. These disparate musical appetites have continued for years as Shelton has worked at his own music.

Like so many others, Shelton began writing songs after a prolonged fascination with Bob Dylan. Combining this influence with his love of punk, hip hop, rock and avant-garde music, Shelton recorded hundreds of songs at home, as he finished college. The songs saw limited release, as they were mostly intended simply as an outlet for self-expression.

In 1999, Shelton discovered the mbira (aka kalimba, thumb piano) music of Zimbabwe. He began writing songs on the instrument, and performed for 3 years with his band Me or the Moon. The band was very well-received, and opened for many national acts including Antibalas, Daniel Johnston, and Animal Collective. In recent years, Shelton has applied his mbira talents with The Image Afro-beat Band, a 10-15 piece ensemble led by Baoku Moses.

Currently, Shelton is performing and recording as a solo artist, and with his woodwind-driven chamber ensemble "The Picnic". With his songwriting fully matured, he holds captive audiences with songs about love and sadness, frustration and transcendence. His songs these days are known for their combination of humor and melancholy, and an overriding hopeful and romantic nature, even when the songs seem full of despair.

His hard-driving finger-picking style has garnered praise and comparisons to Nick Drake, John Fahey, and Delta blues masters like Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt. His current work fits nicely into the recent popularity of newer indie-folk acts such as Devendra Banhart and Iron & Wine.


Mirror on Fire

Written By: Matthew Shelton

When's the last time you masturbated?
Don't you think it's time to get re-acquainted?
That fool's career is overrated.

He'd rather be on his phone
You should be all alone
Keeping it for your own

The house is warm, the streets are wet
It's two in the afternoon and you've not left your bed yet
Every drop on the windowsill's another lonely fingertip

Alone but not sad
You never always had
Your scent was bottled and you shattered the glass

You close your eyes and part your lips
Grind your hips into a snow-peaked mountain range
Wrap your thighs around the lovely moonlit sky

Every wave on every ocean
pounds you senseless
and gently strokes you back ashore

You hear keys in the door
You don't know who
In comes a girl who looks exactly like you
But she's wearing makeup
and sporting a new hairdo

You know you know you
like certain things you do
And she will touch you
and an ocean never rests

And noone but noone's
could set a mirror on fire
like you do.


MShelton & the Cat Lovers: The Vine, coming soon, 2009.
Cold Water, Hot Blood.........full-length cd, 2007.
several self-released home recordings....1995-2002.

Sound & Visionnati......compilation, 2007.
Twisted Roots: Live from the Comet....comp., 2000.

Set List

Sets range from 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the situation. Most songs are originals, with a few lesser-known covers.

Sets and songs are very adaptable, depending on the venue. Shelton has made a reputation for himself as a performer who takes a medley-approach to performance, transitioning seamlessly from one song to the next for up to an hour without breaking.