Growing up in Indiana, in a great home, and finding a love for music in the Pentecostal church shaped Matt Mason into the person he is today. Matt fell in love with Southern Baptist music and says that it has always moved him. (I am guessing from the red hymnals many folks still use today.) Matt use to crawl under the seats, during service, to play with cars.
Matt wanted a guitar. He and his father were on the way to pick up his mom from the airport, one day, and his father stopped into Arthur’s Music Store to buy Matt his first guitar. He took lessons from Carl Downy. Carl would stay after church to teach Matt how to play. At 11 and 12 years old, Matt played acoustic guitar at church. He claims that because they didn’t plug-in to an amp, no one could hear how bad he was playing, but it gave him the confidence he needed to continue on.
Matt continued on and at 14-15 years old he went to an Open Mic at the American Legion. His dad took him to the Open Mic and Matt played a couple of Merle Haggard songs. The crowd responded to Matt’s performance. It even led to him being booked for the Eastern States Exhibition in Massachusetts. Matt went from playing an Open Mic Night at the American Legion, to opening for Charlie Daniels at age 16. He remembers walking on stage and slipping due to the rain (and maybe a little case of the nerves). He said, “I remember looking out and saying wow look at all the people. One foot took off and I caught it right before his pants split.” After show, Charlie Daniel gave him his bow and ran back to his bus, looking at it with amazement, hoping he would sign his bow. Charlie came out, after a little while, told the guy that opened the door for Matt “If anyone comes to my door like that, come get me.”, and took Matt on his bus. Matt remembers Charlie taking the time to sign his bow, his cowboy hat, and talked to him for a second. Matt knew that night that he got a taste of performing and that was the life he wanted to have.
Matt spent time playing fairs and festivals around Indiana, before moving out to Nashville. A couple of weeks after moving to town, Matt got his first gig at Tootsie’s. He had been standing outside because no one would let him after 6pm. (He will still under age.) Different guys would get him up to play throughout the day. John Stone watched him stand outside during the day and finally asked him if he wanted to get up and sing a few songs. Matt sang “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Are You Sure Hank Would Done It That Way?”. He finished his set and looked at the crowd. People were standing on each other shoulders. Matt stood basking in what he thought was a kick ass performance, to only notice Hank Williams, Jr. standing in the back of the room.
The following 18 months, Matt continued to play in Nashville. He learned what to do, how to stand in front of people. and say while on stage. A friend, Berry Jeffrey, called and told him about a show to see if he would be interested in doing a show called “Nashville Star” and are you interested. The auditions went well and Matt went on to place 4th in the competition. Kacey Musgraves, Chris Young, and Miranda Lambert were a few notables that came from the show.
Matt left the show and did his thing until Barry called again with another opportunity from a CMT Relativity show called “CMT Next Superstar. Matt was hesitant to do the show because he didn’t want to be “that guy”. Matt was able to sign with Warner Brothers from appearing on the show and because a better writer.
Matt is now happy with his writing, guitar player, and being a better musician. At the age of 31, Matt is learning this is a business. If you are in it just to make money or just to have fun. you could fail. Matt is in love with the music now after his journey. He is excited that God has big plans. If Matt’s music is helping folks and reach people, Matt says “It is awesome.” Matt finds himself just happy getting by and if more great things happen, he is content. He feels he is in a good place and as long as the fans keep coming out, he will continue on.
I asked Matt about some of his influences and the list is long and distinguished. Matt lists greats like Leon Russel, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, and his all round favorites, Merle Haggard.
When it comes to song writing, Matt Mason has no process. If you stick to a formula, you become stagnant. Matt is not a fan of writing sessions. He seems to be more of an organic song writer. He has never tried to force a song.
I asked Matt Mason what genre to he would put his music in and the only genre he can come up with true life music. Waylon once said that “Music should be classified at all.” If I had to place Matt Mason in a “genre”, I would maybe place him in Americana. Matt has never been a bar style band because he isn’t a karaoke band. He likes to play his own music, staying true to who you are, your fan base will grow. Matt has a few EP outs that are a must listen.
For information about Matt Mason, please click on Matt Mason.
I have linked some of Matt’s song and would like you guys to listen to them all. I have my favorites like “E” and several others. Matt Mason Music.