Matt Walsh
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Matt Walsh

Statesville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE

Statesville, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Blues


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"Quote from Blues Legend Paul Oscher"

" Matt Walsh...Soulful playing, great vocals...It's great to hear young musicians playing in the tradition. That's the only way the Blues will stay alive "

- Paul Oscher

"Quote from Blues radio show host"

Hi Matt:
"Got your CD thru Todd Glazer.
I’ve got to tell you, it’s easily the best CD I’ve heard this year , and as a Blues DJ I hear nearly
everything.I’m ready for your next onealready.And please don’t change what you’re doing."

- KUNM-FM 89.9 Albuquerque, New Mexico - Putnay

"Matt Walsh - Hard Luck CD Review"

"He’s from North Carolina, but right now young blues musician Matt Walsh is based out of Kansas. There is no slick production here. Just 50 minutes of straight-up music in the style of old-school '50s blues. The most surprising thing, if you aren’t familiar with Walsh, is his voice. For a tall, skinny white kid, he sure has a deep soulful timbre. A major plus, the musicianship here is fairly strong and I’m in love with the harmonica on “Breakin’ Up Over You,” one of the best tracks by far."

Up and Coming Weekly ( Fayetteville NC )

- Up and Coming Weekly June 2007 ( Fayettevill NC )

"Young Bluesmen with Old Tone"

"They love Old School Chicago Blues and have both already gone a long way towards playing it with authentic tone and command of the guitar language. Both of them can sing it too, and improve every time I hear them. They are young today and will keep this style alive on bandstands and preserve it as and preserve it as more than history. They may develop so much themselves that they carry the style forward with their own contributions."

- Bob Margolin ( former guitarist for Muddy Waters band and senior writer for Blues Revue Magazine excerpt from Aug/Sept issue 2006 on Matt Walsh and Matt Hill ) - Blues Revue Magazine

"Matt Walsh creates a Blues buzz"

"At the age of 27, Matt Walsh, you may be tempted to think, must have struck a deal with the Devil at some dusty Mississippi crossroads beneath a blood-red moon. After all, how else could someone get so good at playing the Blues?

- Steve Wildsmith - The Daily Times ( Knoxville Tennessee )

"Matt Walsh is the Blues Nastiest"

"If you live in central Oklahoma, you have 3 opportunities next week to expose yourself to man who gets really nasty. This is a rare opportunity for those who like down home dirty blues, those enamored of guitar aficionados, or those who love concerts with passion.

Matt was not born of Mississippi mud nor has he made any deals with the devil, but upon hearing him, you would swear that one or both had to be true. Just turning 30 years old, this man with the pompadour from hell, has already shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Bob Margolin, Delbert McClinton, Taj Mahal, and many other incredible, experienced blues men. When you listen to him, you find yourself wondering just which old vault of Delta or Chicago blues did he find his songs in. You just KNOW you've heard that song SOMEWHERE, but it just won't come to you. But you are wrong. Matt’s deep understanding of the blues allows him to create authentic, but original songs that ring true to the soul. It is just astounding.

Some performers sound better live and some sound better in the studio. Matt and the Maddogs are better live but the saving grace is that once you witness them live, listening to the recordings is suddenly better. When listening to his CDs the visual memory comes flooding back and it is as though you were in the room again.

His new CD, Hard luck, was produced by Bob Margolin (of Muddy Waters fame) without enhancements or tricks. The twelve tracks include some side trips into Rockabilly and Jump, but it all comes out of the same perspective, i.e., deep understanding of the roots of the blues. "

- Bruce Buckner
- Non-zine ( Oklahoma City, OK ) May 2007

"Matt Walsh - Hard Luck CD Review"

"The first piece of information that attracted me to Hard Luck, an independent release from young North Carolina via Kansas guitarist/singer, Matt Walsh, was a testimonial from former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin. Bob knows what he's talking about when it comes to the blues and he's always been very supportive of younger musicians, especially if they play the old school blues.

With his perfectly coifed hairstyle and long sideburns, Walsh looks more like a rockabilly cat than a bluesman. In fact, the novelty vocal group Sha Na Na was one of Walsh's very, very early influences, and he's got the hairstyle to match. But the groove he puts out on Hard Luck is, without a doubt, deep Chicago blues.

What's most impressive is that each of the dozen songs on the CD were written by Walsh. If this guy rode a time machine back to the early 1950s, he could probably line up a gig as a house songwriter at Chess Records.
Walsh is not the greatest singer around but he's certainly competent, and his guitar playing shows great potential. He's got a very good feel for the material that he's doing. It's raw, primitive blues recorded appropriately to give it a raw, primitive sound. The music is infectious, especially the more you listen to it.

I hesitate to compare the sound on Hard Luck to the work of Margolin since Walsh has his own thing going on here, but it's a fair comparison for the purpose of setting an expectation level. In fact, Margolin appears as guest guitarist on two of the cuts, the uptempo shuffle "Leaving My Baby" and the title cut, "Hard Luck." He also helped with most of the CD's final mix.

Highlights on Hard Luck include the sparse "Breakin' Up Over You," with Walsh's acoustic guitar accompanied by Rene Aaron's fine harmonica playing. In addition, Walsh shows that he's got a slide and knows how to use it on the exciting "20 More Miles."

Walsh shows his versatility on two of the later cuts, doing more of a late night, T-Bone Walker style blues, "Sit and Wonder," with exquisite guitar playing. Very nice! The closing cut, "Woody's Rag," is a foot-tapping ragtime number, featuring guitar, upright bass and harmonica.

There's much more to like about this disc; there's not a weak but among the dozen songs on Hard Luck. For more info on Walsh, check out his site at or order the CD from CD Baby."

--- Bill Mitchell

Blues Bytes on the web at, and

Blues Bytes - winner of the 2006 "Keeping The Blues Alive" award from the Blues Foundation in the Blue

- Blues Bytes July 2007 Volume 12 Number 7

"Matt Walsh - Hard Luck CD Review"

"It's impossible to avoid being swept up by the energy of the rockabilly/Blues on "Hard Luck", eventually toe-tapping and finger drumming become a reflex action. The first thing to note is the production quality, or lack of it. The sound on "Hard Luck" is a bit of a lottery. Eventually, not only do you get used to it but you'd not have it any other way. The Blues isn't pristine and well dressed and Matt Walsh has presented his dozen songs in their most natural state. Anyway with a voice like his, what need has Walsh of studio trickery, this is a force of nature best left alone. In Walsh's hands the tracks on "Hard Luck" are raw, visceral and almost brutal. He's obviously realised that he's never going to be a crooner and he's played to his strengths, attacking the Blues with a will. "Hard Luck” is rough-edged and magnificent. For a modern era, when a cover of classic is sometimes seen as a mandatory validation, it is a pleasant surprise to be presented with an album entirely of originals. While Matt Walsh is never going to make his fortune as a writer, the songs on the album are well constructed and written with that unique voice in mind. What "Hard Luck" does, above all, is present the Blues as they should be - tough, uncompromising and honest."

Michael Mee

- Blues Matters Magazine August 2007

"Matt Walsh - Hard Luck CD Review"

Matt Walsh started practicing music at a very young age . He played everything after he got his first electric guitar but the raw blues of Robert Nighthawk, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Lockwood Jr., T-Bone Walker, Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Johnny Guitar Watson and even Little Richard, changed his life.

Matt Walsh has drawn attention to himself for some years, even before the release of his debut album, “Goin' Back South” in 2004 which displayed eleven original and powerful songs. At home in North Carolina and Wichita KS, Walsh is considered one of the leaders of the new Blues revolution. His style visits the old school Chicago Blues sound of 1950s and Rockabilly, Jump/ Swing Blues, and Rock from those early years are nicely processed as well. His unique guitar style and characteristic voice blow new life in the traditions of the Chicago blues and the Southern rhythm & Blues.

Walsh’s work has been on the scene for some years, but he is now being recognized as one of the best guitarist from a list of new, up and coming Blues musicians, and the man is still improving. His second album, ‘Hard Luck’ ( Raw Tone Records ) is nothing short of awesome and it enjoys a hot accompaniment! On ‘Hard Luck’ Matt features his core band featuring Jesse Major (Dog House bass) and Kyle Couch (drums), and he is routinely supported with remarkable guests like producer and guitarist Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters), Max Drake (Big Bill Morganfield, Skeeter Brandon, Mel Melton) on guitar and mandolin; Chuck Cotton (Bob Margolin, Jimmy Rogers) on drums; and Matt Hill on guitar.

Walsh is great with his acoustic, electric, slide guitars and he never lets them dominate or over-power the songs and their soulful arrangements. Margolin is here on two of the twelve numbers: the up tempo shuffle “Leaving My Baby” and on the title track “Hard Luck”. There is an especially nice peak with Breakin' Up Over You displaying Walsh's acoustic work and Rene Aaron's beautiful harmonica game. “20 More Miles” shows passionate slide work and “Sit and Wonder” throws a perfect nod to T-Bone Walker’s guitar style paired with great song lyrics. The closing number, “Woody's Rag“, is a foot-tapping ragtime instrumental with Jesse Major’s fine slap upright bass grounding the band, doubling as a drummer and Rene Aaron’s harmonica in the lead role. Piedmont Blues have never been better.

Overall, the Chicago Blues, Piedmont Blues and even mandolin floated Delta Blues make all the songs individual and awesome. This young person has already proved a lot in the contemporary Blues culture (even opened Buddy Guy, Bob Margolin, Delbert McClinton and Taj Mahal) and Matt Walsh’s original songs are of a very high level, certain open doors for the future.


- Rootstime

"Matt Walsh - Hard Luck CD Review"

Blueswax August 23rd 2007 - CD review for ’Hard Luck’

Nice Debut With Flavor, (08/22/07)

This young up-and-comer has a solid start to what will be a long career. Matt Walsh has taken time with some of the older guys to learn his craft. On his first disc he has a good grip on the music. His vocals reminded me right off the bat of the producer of this album, Bob Margolin. This is before I knew who produced the album. Margolin guests on guitar on two of the songs as well.

But back to Walsh: his style is more than just a Blues guitarist. His tones hit the old Rock 'n' Roll and Rockabilly sounds, also. These recordings do sound like some of Margolin's Alligator recordings. That is not a small task to pull off for any artist, let alone one that is just cracking the thirty-year old mark.

You can point similarities to Monster Mike Welch if you want, but Walsh is his own artist. He can swing at times, but not too hard. He has a subtlety in his music, a restraint. Walsh brings out the acoustic on few songs. He even goes after the rag on "Woody's Rag." The song swoops around with a thumping bass and soaring harmonica.

I'd like to bring up his resemblance also to the Fabulous Thunderbirds' early recordings. The tone of his guitar is aimed at the Texas sound, but each song has its own flavor. He never rocks too much, just enough to get you on the dance floor.

"Sit and Wonder" is a slow, quiet, acoustic number that takes its time through the seven-plus-minute wandering. The elegant touches on the strings are added to by a pulsing upright bass. You never know what corner this guy will turn with his guitar.

Every song on the album was penned by Walsh. You really can't take a musical journey like this disc takes you on without playing your own music. Walsh has a lot of original ideas and works some out on this disc, but you know there are many more ideas still in his head. Give him time and he should be putting out shining gems in the future.

Hard Luck is an excellent start to his recording career. This is a foundation that can launch him onto one of the Blues labels out there. He hits so many bases on this album that he will find a comfortable niche and blast off from there. He is not an artist who will be happy playing just one style. He is very versatile and that seems to keep him satisfied.

To hear an artist that will keep you guessing what is coming next and please you each time, take a listen to Matt Walsh.

Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax

- Blueswax


Hard Luck - 2008 Raw Tone Records
(EP) Old School Piedmont House Party - 2010 Raw Tone Records



Doing 200 plus shows a year throughout the US, Matt Walsh is a vocalist / guitarist / song writer from North Carolina. He is also the other half of the Americana/Rock group, The Low Counts. His sound is influenced by the energy and guitar tones from Blues recordings that he heard in his youth like Eddie Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, Robert Nighthawk and Willie Johnson, but on any given night you'll hear him use that influence to rip through the landscape of American music - nasty primitive Blues, Rock, Rockabilly and Soul - blending it all into his own original songs and sound that reflects his love for many genres of music.

Matt's playing, coupled with his soulful vocals have sold music critics and music lovers, who all agree that his stripped down approach to music is original and real and a breath of fresh air from what the general perception of “Blues” music is. But to label Matt Walsh a Blues musician would be incorrect. His primary focus is original music and taking his roots further along the way.

Matt is from Statesville, NC and his exposure to music came first from his mother through her love of Motown. In his youth he found fascination with various types of music and was always anxious when he heard a sound that was different or foreign to his ear. Matt's mother encouraged his love of music but his real education began in his early teens with his late uncle who would turn him onto his record collection which contained anything from Jazz to Rock to deep Blues. His uncle was not a musician by any means, but he did know a lot about music and would introduce Matt to early 1940's and 50's recordings of Muddy Waters and Lightnin' Hopkins which inspired Matt to play guitar. Taken by the rawness of the two musician's recordings, Matt later found similar artist, Hounddog Taylor, Elmore James, Robert Nighthawk and Howlin' Wolf's guitarist, Willie Johnson with the latter two being a main influence. Matt didn't find much that he liked within the Blues genre unless it had the similar thick heavy raw sound of the recordings by these artist and he had little to no interest in other Blues or any contemporary Blues music.

When he was 13, Matt got a 1970 knock off of a Gibson SG electric guitar (Hondo ) for $25 at a flee market and rather than going to the prom or attending football games he sat out to learn how to play the stripped down Blues that his new idols played. At the same time he was also listening and working on 50's Rock on Sun Records, Hip Hop, Stax Soul, Rockabilly, old Country, 60's and 70's Rock, whatever, as long is it had feeling and and wasn't contrived.

In 2001 Matt moved to Wichita, KS and started playing out in small pubs and clubs (something he felt he couldn't do at home) learning to play out live while perfecting what he had learned from his heroes.

Around this time 2004 he saw some of his work was paying off and he began opening for some well know Blues musicians like Buddy Guy and Taj Mahal. Matt attended a concert in Salina, KS featuring old Muddy Water's band members Pinetop Perkins, Carey Bell, Willie Big Eyes Smith and also Bob Margolin, who discovered Matt when Matt introduced himself at the show. From 1973-1980, Bob played guitar in the band of Muddy Waters, touring worldwide and recording, and learning to play Muddy’s music directly from him. Matt and Bob talked about their love for the same kind of raw music from the 1950's and formed a friendship. In 2007 Matt recorded his first official release with some help from Margolin who felt Matt's music needed to be heard. The result was the album, 'Hard Luck' which featured all original material that criss crossed the landscape of American roots music with the focus on uncompromising, visceral sounds.

Matt's approach on 'Hard Luck' was called a “a breath of fresh air in the Blues world” and enjoyed rave reviews, a ton of independent radio play a featured spot on XM 74 satelite radio as a 'Pick to Click and many spots at music festivals.