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Matt Woosey in Sheffield

Matt Woosey
Cafe #9, Sheffield
Thursday 10th March 2022, £13.75
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All stages great and small.

Matt Woosey has made a career of defying expectations. His albums break down the confines of genre. His performances span from eyeball-to-eyeball solo sets in fans living rooms, to thundering full-band explosions that shake the most prestigious venues in Europe.

Hes an artist who slips the creative handcuffs of the industry, a trailblazer with no reverse gear, a guitar visionary whose palette bleeds into folk, rock, ambient and more, having been first turned on to the world of music by the blues.

Youve got to keep progressing, reasons the British singer-songwriter. Like John Martyn. Like Robert Plant. Like Radiohead

Yet all the great artists come with a backstory, and theres no doubt this artist was forged by an early career that took in passion, hardship and redemption. Rewind to the late-90s, then, and as the son of forces parents stationed in Germany, Matt found himself packed off to a Bristol boarding school with a rudimentary cassette player and a stack of dubious tapes.

He had little use for ABBA and Simply Red, but was spellbound by the souped-up, shape- shifting power-blues of Led Zeppelins debut and II.
Thats when I fell in love with music, he says. When I knew it would be part of my life. That early taste for Led Zeppelin quickly spilled over into blues-rock heavyweights like Rory Gallagher, Paul Kossoff and Peter Green, with Tim Buckley and John Martyn also stirred into the mix (I always loved the way they used their voices as an instrument). Soon, passive enjoyment alone no longer enough scratched the itch, and Matt duly pinballed through a string of local bands that included a Thin Lizzy covers outfit.

Indeed, by the time he came to record his solo debut in 2008 an album released independently and flogged at gigs Matt had established his ethos of all-original songs, whatever the cost.

Right now, Matt stands at his most fascinating creative crossroads to date. Its two years since the release of 'Live! at Gallaghers Nest' : the ground-breaking album, capturing the most daring music of Matts career, it was toasted by Classic Rock as one of the years most ambitious and electrifying releases, and the ripples spread far beyond his early fanbase.

I have a real fear of repeating myself, he says. My music has to be creative and artistic. It has to keep pushing things forward. I just want people to come with me on my journey, whatever changes I take.

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