Matt Minglewood
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Matt Minglewood


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"Surviving With Matt Minglewood"

Matt Minglewood combines southern rock, country, Celtic and blues into each and every performance such as at the recent Cupid's Bluesfest organized by the Canada South Blues Society. Hailing from North Sydney, Cape Breton Island, "down east" culture exudes from Minglewood. He is a great story-teller, is full of humour and has a light-hearted approach to life and its challenges. These qualities have enabled him to survive the turbulent life of a musician. He looked back on his daring and risk-taking career that started in 1966 in a band called The Rockin' Saints. At that time he was playing organ and was still known by his real name Roy Batherson. 'In the beginning no one considered me a blues artist because I had success in rock/southern rock. How it (the blues music scene) has changed now? I don't know. I almost feel lucky I got started when I did because I don't think I'd want to start now, the way it is now. Its so corporate now, its sickening, you know?! A bunch of guys go out and go find talent and people put them all together and spend a bunch of money on them. They do videos -- the whole thing. They manufacture them. That's sort of stayed away from the blues for the most part. Blues has stayed pretty true. You gotta stand up for yourself. You gotta get up there on stage and produce otherwise everybody's gonna know. Its not like you can sell it with clothes and videos. You gotta go up there and play it.'

Matt continued on organ for a few years but slowly performed and recorded more and more guitar. In the current rendition of the Matt Minglewood band, he focuses entirely on guitar and vocals. 'I started on organ. I always played a little guitar and I played piano a bit. When I joined a band, they didn't have organ players back then so I got an organ and learned a few chords and I started from there. I had about 4 Hammonds and I dragged them around with the Leslies. I pulled my back and hurt my muscles carrying those things around but I loved them. I always had guitar players in my bands and I played a little guitar back and forth. I could never keep the guitar players. They'd always be leaving for one reason or another and I just got tired of it. I decided I got to get serious about this guitar stuff. I might have started a little late? When I first heard BB King it was like, wow, this is the real thing. Freddie King, Muddy Waters and all those guys influenced me. Even early John Mayall and Eric Clapton had an impact.'

Based on the lineup to purchase his CDs and get an autograph after his multi-genre embracing set at Cupids, he definitely didn't start playing guitar too late. Although he wasn't the festival's overall headliner, the Fogolar Furlan was bursting at the seems during his performance and it commanded the largest reaction from the crowd. This hasn't always been the case in his career that exceeds 35 years. He quickly rose to the top of Canadian blues-rock with a string of top selling albums on RCA. 'One of the hardest things was making my "first comeback" (said ironically since he never left). When I switched record companies and went to CBS, that was a big mistake. They didn't do anything. The album (M5) stiffed and I was considered a has been. I went home and took a year off and I came back in kind of a country blues vein with that "Me and The Boys" record. Coming back and playing some of these bars - oh man, I had to start at the bottom again. It was bizarre how quickly people forget (laughing at how fickle the music fans can be). I was playing in these hotels in Ontario with accommodations upstairs in some hotel room they wouldn't sell to normal people. Being away was tough -- I spent Christmas in a dump in London, Ontario. I had to put bedsheets on the window to block out the sun and then I had no heat. This was after I had gold records. I had to bear down and say do I really want to do this.'

He stuck with it and it started to pay off (again). Not only did he add to a string of gold records, he also achieved numerous award nominations, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Coast Music Association and a Great Canadian Blues Award from CBC's Saturday Night Blues radio program. Jokingly he states, 'I wish they'd give me money instead (laughter). I can't spend them (the awards) and it wouldn't be right to sell them. Its an honour really - anything that comes your way in life -- take it graciously.'

Minglewood almost has as many guitars as awards. Some are cherished more than others. 'The red 335 is my favourite. It is actually the one that gets used the most in the studio. Its old. We were playing up in Alaska and there was a fire in the bar that we played. I lost my Telecaster. We didn't have any insurance but the bar did. So they gave us the money and I bought it in Seattle for $300 bucks. Bought a Gretsch case with it for $15 bucks. A hard-shell and it saved it.' Referring to a story that he told during his set, 'I did literally run over it with the bus. I backed up - Blues On Stage

"Singing the East Coast blues again"

After three decades of touring, Cape Breton's Matt Minglewood has plenty of stories about friends, fans and life on the road. Some of them are even printable, writes Norman Provencher.

Matt Minglewood, the blues guitarist from Glace Bay, Cape Breton, has made a fair living as a touring bluesman and he says he gets equal pleasure playing for a few fans in a little club or close to 1,000 at a big city concert venue. He's at the Rainbow in Ottawa Saturday.
He doesn't have the Rolls yet, and probably never will, but all things considered, the music business has been pretty good to Matt Minglewood for all these decades. Nowhere near as good as things should have been, his hard-core legion of fans will tell you, not without justification.

But the pride of Glace Bay, Cape Breton has raised a family, sent the kids to college, set himself up with a comfy home where he can play with the grandkids, play beer-league hockey a couple of times a week and pretty much live a full, more or less normal life when he's not out being a disciple of good music and late hours. There's another side benefit to life as a road dog, one with no cash value perhaps, but something you keep forever: an international network of friends and fans and stories.

Ah, the stories: Unlike his Dr. Jekyll character, Roy Batherson, (his real name) Minglewood's Mr. Hyde is a flat-brimmed Stetson-wearing, mullet-sporting bad boy who's left tales that have become legends, stories of wine, women and song, stage-diving and crowd surfing (not always intentional, but before it became fashionable), carousing and fast getaways.

"Yeah, there are some stories, but the big story right now is trying to make sure the wife (long-suffering business and personal partner, Babs Batherson) doesn't see the casino signs," Minglewood jokes over the phone from Windsor, Ont.
The Windsor stop is part of his Minglewood 2.0 incarnation, an up-close, intimate, solo acoustic set of stories and songs. Minglewood is quick to stress it's not as touchy-feely as it sounds.

"This all started last year. I was doin' a friend a favour," he huffs about the show that has received glowing reviews wherever it's been put on. "My buddy has a bar and he was lookin' for something steady. I thought I'd help out, but it's not a big place and the band wouldn't work."
As we mentioned, Minglewood has all these stories -- which we'd be more than glad to share, if this weren't a family newspaper -- so he thought about putting together a couple of sets telling the origins of some of his more popular tunes.

The storyteller routine didn't help out his buddy's bar, but a star was born, nevertheless.
"The folks were coming out to the bars for the full-strength Minglewood thing, I guess," he laughs. "I can't blame them. I like that, too.
"But I was really getting into this solo thing and started to book it into theatres and stuff, restaurants and bars that were more intimate, where everyone was there to listen a bit."
The storyteller persona isn't as out there as it might first seem. Ever since he started, Minglewood's music has come from that undefinable excellent place where the blues meets rock and country. Today they call it Americana and other things, but back then it was just known as loud and rocking.

Born in Moncton, he might have been a trucker or a coal miner when he came up in the swinging '60s, but Minglewood joined up with fellow East Coast madman Sam Moon and went through a variety of band incarnations until 1976, when he struck off on his own with The Minglewood Band and a self-titled independent album.

In 1979, Minglewood landed a deal at the old RCA records, and the band's self-titled first record included a cover of Marshall Tucker Band's Can't You See. The album Movin followed the next year, while Booker T & The MGs bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn was hired to produce the band's third record, Out on a Limb, in Memphis.The records each did about 50,000 in sales -- gold record status in Canada -- but Minglewood was antsy and moved to a CBS label in 1982.
That, Minglewood admits, was a screwup."I gotta say when we moved to CBS from RCA, that just brought things to a screeching halt. We were riding high there, not superstars, but going in a real positive direction. (The record company) wanted to head somewhere else, although I guess I'm still not sure where.

"It was a disaster."He backed out of the deal and started again from scratch, landing a deal on the Warner imprint, Savannah Records, and put out Me and the Boys, in 1985, probably his single most successful record to date, at least financially. The song Living Outside the Law hit top 20 in Canada, while good ole boy Charlie Daniels covered the record's title track.There were other popular singles from the album over the next couple of years -- Georgia on a Fast Train, The Far Side of Town, and a cover of Some Day I'm Gonna Ride in a Cadillac, written by the pride of Aylmer, Charlie Major -- but Mi - Ottawa Citizen

"A Night of Rock & Blues"

A mini blizzard could not stop eager blues fans from braving the elements to fill the Savoy in aid of a cherished Cape Breton landmark. 'A NIGHT OF ROCK & BLUES' brought together a triple bill of artists, who played for over three hours to raise much needed funds for Two Rivers Wildlife Park in Marion Bridge.

First up were the Blues Merchants, led by Ian Acker, who delivered a fine way to shake off the chill outside. With hits like Flip Flop & Fly, Sweet Clemintine, and even Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered, this band of 10 years, gave an example of just how versitile they can be! And speaking of shaking, Sam Moon,bedecked in a glittering luner motiffed moo moo, brought back a lot of memories to his legion of fans, who have long enjoyed his unique brand of rock & blues style, and engaging personality. From some of his own original crowd favorites, to Van Morrison, it was larger than life entertainment guaranteed to please any audience. It was a Marvelous Night to hear a favorite native son belt out much loved songs like Girls Of Neil's Harbour,and Under the Boardwalk. Though surprisingly it was Sam Moon's first time on the Savoy stage, lets hope it won't be the last!

But the man of the hour was definitely Matt Minglewood, hot on the heels of winning the ECMA for his most recent release, the Live at Last album. It is very plain to see that Minglewood has definitely grown into his own over the past several years, and that by no means translates to boring, but rather a most comfortable stage presence, no doubt attributed to decades of touring, successful albums, and in the last couple of years, having his career celebrated on his home turf in summer festivals, and his highly acclaimed solo tours with 'The Story'. which basically chronicals his life as a full time musician.

A highlight of the night was the inclusion of 'Ain't Nothin Pretty About the Blues', definitely a standout song in his repertoire. As well, we heard 'Brushed By The Wings Of An Angel, destined for release on his upcoming acoustic album. Matt Minglewood seems to be just getting started, as opposed to slowing down, and this is one rocker who deserves every reward that has come his way of late. A Night Of Rock & Blues presented a most self assured Minglewood,with passionate song delivery, blistering guitar, and a generous sharing of the stage with the Merchants and Moon.

A positively fabulous show, for a great cause!

- Cape Breton Post Review by - Wanda Earhard

"MATT MINGLEWOOD BAND-Live At Last (2003 Norton Records)"

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here. The Matt Minglewood Band live! Recorded at "Minglefest" in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the energy of a live Matt Minglewood show is captured here for all to experience. After over ten records and a couple or three decade, a live release was long overdue. The wait has been worth it.

The first track, "Tell Me" sets the stage for the set. Matt and guest guitarist Jeff Healey trade licks and vocals back and forth, and the fun doesn't let up for 75 minutes. "Whiz Kids" is typical of a lot of the tracks here. The performances just smoke, and leave many of the studio versions in their wake. "How High Is High Enough", with its sing-along chorus, and tasteful organ break, leaves one wishing they were there to witness this tight outfit. "Let Someone Else Drive" is a typical blues-stomper, but is made more gritty with Healey's vocals, and a darn fine honky-tonk piano solo, followed by some extended guitar work.

It's difficult to pick out a stand out track here. Some songs like "Me + the Boys" (which Charlie Daniels covered) and "East Coast Blues", illustrate that Minglewood is the definition of East Coast Blues. "Somebody Help Me" has that classic blues riff that we hear so often, but here, it's mixed with some of the best vocals Matt has ever done, and let's not forget some great guitar fills and solos.

Probably the standout track would be "Rockin' The Blues", a story song with the best solo on the disk. The whole band comes together on this track. Matt has to be seen live to be fully enjoyed, but this live album will suffice in the meantime. A few years ago, a couple friends from Kentucky came up to Fredericton to visit. Luckily, Matt Minglewood was playing that weekend, and put on a great show. These friends still comment how they'll never forget Matt jumping up on the tables in the bar, kicking empty beer bottles out of the way, and all the while soloing. You don't get that on this cd, but it's as close as you can experience without being there. "Live At Last" indeed!

The sound of the live recording is great. Crisp and clear, it's mixed extremely well, with all the instruments being heard as they should be, but then jumping out of the speakers at the appropriate time. It's not clear why "Can't You See", a Marshall Tucker Band track that Matt has made his own, fades out at the end, but it's a fitting conclusion to the set. Chills.

Ray Violette, Moncton, NB
- The Great White Noise Ray - Violette Moncton, NB

"Minglewood Band Live at Last"

Road warrior Minglewood invited a few friends to Sydney NS for his first live recording. Dubbed "Minglefest", Jeff Healey, Michael Pickett, Billy Joe Green and Rita Chiarelli were all on hand to celebrate his eleventh album and all ensured that it was a memorable event. He has always straddled rock & country as well as blues but this CD oozes blues no matter the style. No one sings about life on the road quite like he does, just listen to the closer "Can't You See".
For all the wonderful contributions from Michael Pickett, Billy Joe Green, Rita Chiarelli, Sam Moon & Dennis Parker, this is Minglewood's life, no one else's. Healey is on lead guitar throughout and shows no sign of leaving electric blues behind. The songs here draw from the history of the band, with some from his last one, Drivin' Wheel. Howling Wolf's "Tell Me" starts things off in fashion, though, with Minglewood & Healey trading choruses. His road band is in fine form throughout with Grant Leslie, bass, Neil Robertson, drums, Jim Ralph on keyboards and all on background vocals. Other road-tested highlights here are "Let Somebody Else Drive", "Me & the Boys", "Travelin' Man", "Rockin' the Blues" & "East Coast Blues". "Night Creeper" is new to the discography and is a fine feature for Mr's. Pickett & Healey.
The proceedings were preserved for posterity by Trevor Turnbull and you should get one for your collection, as not all eleven have been transferred to CD yet and only grizzled collectors like myself would notice any repetition.

For more info, samples and ordering, go to his excellent web site,

Reviewer John Valenteyn

- Toronto Blues Society -Maple Blues

"Minglewood Band Live at Last"

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Minglewood is a living Canadian music legend. He combines Southern rock, country, Celtic and blues into each and every performance. With 10 previous albums out (dating back to 1976), he has just released his first live CD. Recorded in September 2002, the 74-minute set includes a few guest artists
Most prominent is virtuoso guitarist Jeff Healey who appears on all 13 tracks. Only five are covers and there are two songs never recorded by Matt before. The signature Minglewood sound and storytelling abounds on this disc. For a prime example of those catchy fervent rhythms, aggressive piano fills, zestful vocals, choruses with east coast jigs and changing melodies, listen to "Whiz Kids." Most tunes come with a rolling down the highway attitude where caution is thrown to the wind. If you enjoy a high energy double-barreled attack that rocks your blues, you'll love this CD. The ashes left in your CD tray will confirm just how much this CD smokes!

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Minglewood is a living Canadian music legend. His nation-wide popularity is a testimony to his timeless appeal. He combines southern rock, country, Celtic and blues into each and every performance. Hailing from Cape Breton Island, he is a great story-teller, is full of humour and has a light-hearted approach to life and its challenges. With 10 previous albums out (dating back to 1976), he has just released his first live CD, Live At Last (Norton Records). Just prior to its release, he made these comments: "People have been torturing me forever to put out a live album. They said my studio albums are great but they're not the same as seeing it live. You try real hard to capture that (in the studio) but it's hard. This live one actually does capture it. Its got energy up the ying-yang and I'm really happy with it.

When I heard the rough stuff I said I'm gonna mix this – this is the live album people have been bugging me for." Minglewood's description of the new CD was very accurate. Recorded in front of a very lively and enthusiastic Sydney, Nova Scotia crowd in September 2002 at 'Minglefest,' the 74 minute set includes a few guest artists. Most prominent is virtuoso guitarist Jeff Healey, who appears on all 13 tracks. Only five are covers and there are two songs never recorded by Matt before. Needless to say, there is lots of interplay and weaving between these two Canadian guitar greats. It's done as a complementing affair rather than a competing one. Matt's solos are more harsh when compared to Jeff's smoothness. However, Healey gets downright screeching at times, as on "Night Creeper." Other guests used more sparingly include Michael Pickett (harp), Billy Joe Green (guitar), and three backing vocalists. Grant Leslie and Neil Robertson tackle the bottom and pulse, while Jim Ralph performs wonders on keyboards. In the studio, Matt added his acoustic guitar and Hammond organ to several cuts.

The signature Minglewood sound and storytelling abounds on this disc. For a prime example of those catchy fervent rhythms, aggressive piano fills, zestful vocals, choruses with east coast jigs and changing melodies, listen to "Whiz Kids." Here, Jimmy's quick-paced, orchestral solo precedes equally fast wailing from Jeff.
"Let Somebody Else Drive" is an old-time rock 'n' roll song which denounces drinking and driving.
"Hughie T. & Annie Lizzie" is an emotion-laden instrumental where you feel compassion in every sweet note Matt plays on crying slide guitar. These names are the way his parents were affectionately addressed by people who were close to them.
For a rocked up version of the blues, listen to "Somebody Help Me." Ralph's keyboards are haunting while Matt's shrieking and wailing guitar is played methodically.
Things are tamed down on the almost entirely unplugged, country folk number "Me & The Boys." Sometimes music can express more than words.
Sometimes words can express more than music. "Travelin' Man" equally says 'I Love You' via both. The song is so from the heart, so down to earth and so loving that it gives hope that not all blues-rockers may be womanizing drunks.
"Cape Crusader" suffers a bit from the absence of studio wonders. This is the only song the boys do not recreate effectively live.
"Can't You See" is such a staple of Matt's live performance, it is too bad that it fades out before the song was completed by the band.
Minglewood has spent most of his life on the road. It won't surprise you that he regularly sings about it, and most tunes come with a rolling down the highway attitude where caution is thrown to the wind. He plays blues-based rock with heavy doses of Southern rock. If you enjoy a high energy, double-barreled attack that rocks your blues, you'll love this CD. Its crisp Minglewood production makes you wish you were there. The ashes left in your CD tray will confirm just how much this CD smokes!
- Blues Bytes Magazine

"Hubert O’Hearn – journalist Chronicle Journal (Thunder Bay, On)"

“I was literally blown off my seat at this years (2004) Thunder Bay Blues Festival by Matt Minglewood…..the crowd gave him a well deserved standing ovation not usually seen at a Blues Festival” - Hubert O’Hearn – journalist Chronicle Journal (Thunder Bay, On)

"Vaughn O’Connor – Northumberland Sound Promotions (Moncton, NB)"

“Matt’s solo performance “The Story” provides an insight into his songs and his life that we as fans seldom get to witness. He truly is a living legend with a “must see” performance. “The Story” really is a pleasure for all. - Vaughn O’Connor – Northumberland Sound Promotions (Moncton, NB)

"Timothy Gillespie, Osprey Arts Centre (Shelburne, NS)"

"From both a performance and management standpoint, Matt Minglewood's "The Story" show was the most pleasurable show I have produced at the Osprey Arts Centre. I hope we can have Matt back as soon as he is able and willing" - Timothy Gillespie, Osprey Arts Centre (Shelburne, NS)

"Jennifer Crocker- Communication Director Savoy Theatre (Glace Bay, NS)"

“When you strip away the big end of production, take away the band and flashy lights and STILL end up with a gargantuan performance, you know then, you’re dealing with a real performer. A man with true ability to captivate his audience.” - Jennifer Crocker- Communication Director Savoy Theatre (Glace Bay, NS)


Minglewood Red Album Solar Records
Minglewood Band RCA
Movin’ RCA
Out on a Limb RCA
Minglewood Smokers (Best of) RCA
Me & The Boys Savannah
The Promise Savannah
One Caper After Another BMG
Drivin’ Wheel Norton Records 2000
Live at Last Norton Records 2004
The Story Norton Records 2006



Guitarist, pianist, singer, songwriter creates an inspired blend of country, blues, folk, roots and rock. Both on record and on stage Matt keeps the music thriving, interesting and vivacious. After a dozen recordings and thirty years of touring from Cape Breton to Vancouver, Europe and across the United States he has earned the respect and loyalty of thousands of devoted fans.

Matt grew up in North Sydney, Nova Scotia in a large and loving extended family of twelve. At an early age he remembers sitting on grandfather Batherson’s knee listening to him, completely enthralled by his fiddle playing as he bounced him up and down. At the tender age of four he sang in front of his first audience, singing a couple of Gaelic songs and the writing was on the wall. At the age of six he started fiddle lessons, moved on to the piano at eight and by his teens was in love with the guitar. He joined his first band, the Rockin’ Saints’ in his late teens playing organ and rhythm guitar. His early influences were eclectic, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, BB King but also local fiddle players such as Winston Scotty Fitzgerald and Buddy MacMaster. By his early twenties Matt went on to join a band entitled Sam Moon, Matt Minglewood & the Universal Power. This band soon evolved into the Moon Minglewood Band. They toured the country extensively and became known as one of the hardest working bands in the country. By the mid 70’s they morphed into the Minglewood Band & recorded their first album, affectionately known as ‘The Red Album’ in 76…..a recording contract with RCA Records soon followed.

His music and song writing has the natural universality one only hears from a born storyteller. The songs can be somewhat autobiographical as in 'Me and the Boys', a song about carefree days of his youth or social issues he puts forth in 'Long Way From Texas'. Many of Matt's tunes grapple with the universal feelings of passion, frustrations, hope, loneliness, love, disappointment and regret as well as his deep love of the Maritimes. They are always reflected his life around him and what he is feeling at the time.

His song, “Me & The Boys” was recorded by southern-rock legend Charlie Daniels on his CD of the same name. Many major artists (such as Jeff Healy, Jimmie Rankin, Duck Dunn, (Bassist for Eric Clapton, Neil Young and the Blues Brothers), Colin James, Downchild Blues Band, Kenny Neal, and Grammy award winning Blues harp player Charlie Musselwhite) just to name a few have joined Matt on stage and CD. You never know who may show up to “ sit in “ on any given night!!

A dozen recordings later and now on his own label, Norton Records, Matt has just released his first acoustic Cd entitled ‘The Story’ and has no thoughts of slowing down. Matt still tours extensively either as an acoustic solo artist or with his full band.

Matt has released 12 recordings and has amassed numerous awards & accolades along the way including:
*2006 East Coast Music Award 'Blues Recording of he Year'
*2005 Maple Blues Award for Entertainer of the Year
*2004 East Coast Music Award for Blues Recording of the Year
*Three Gold Records
*Two Juno nominations
*Two Canadian Country Music nominations
*Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Coast Music Association
*Two ECMA Awards as well as numerous nominations
*Canadian Country Music Songwriter of the Year award for Me and The Boys
*he “Great Canadian Blues Award” from CBC’s National radio show, Saturday Night
*Matt was recently honored with an honorary Doctorate Degree from UCCB
*Bestowed with the Queens Jubilee Medal for his contribution to Canadian music

A readers poll of "The Twenty Best Atlantic Canada Albums of All Time" in the Halifax ‘Coast’ readers placed both 'Drivin' Wheel' and the 'Minglewood Red Album' in the top twenty!