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Issue 1088

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Review

Krissy Matthews:Scenes From A Moving Window (Promise Records)

Krissy Matthews CD cover pic

8

6.1

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UK release date 02.03.2015

Heâs just 22-years-old but has released his FIFTH solo album â with a four year gap since his last one. British blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Krissy Matthews has just about done it all in his career â a full time professional musician since leaving school in 2008.

He tours all over the planet and has gigged at clubs, theatres and festivals in 20 or more countries. Has shared the stage and recording studio with some of the biggest names in blues and rock music. Legendary songwriter and producer Pete Brown in his corner. Pete who co-wrote many of Creamâs most famous songs, and has worked with many guitar greats including Peter Green and Jeff Beck, has co-written 11 songs on this record with Krissy - taking the helm as producer too.

Before we get into the specifics of this album; to first give you a concise summary of Krissyâs career to date is going to take some doing in the space available. Heâs done so much at such a young age.But it was back in 1995, when Krissy was three-years-old and his musician father Keith Matthews invited him up on stage to strum along to Roy Orbisonâs âPretty Woman,â where the Krissy Matthews story started. He got his first electric guitar on his eighth birthday, and for the first two years his father taught him songs from Hank Marvin and The Shadows song book. At the age of 11, he discovered the blues through a Norwegian artist while on a family holiday in Norway.

In August 2004, Krissy got backstage at a festival in Norway to meet the âGodfather of British Bluesâ, John Mayall, handing him a demo, which included the Otis Rush classic âAll Your Loveâ from the famous Beano album on it. John invited Krissy to sit in on that song on his encore, and the first night went so well, Krissy performed two songs with him the following night. This created a storm in Norway, resulting in several national radio and press interviews, and invites for the 12-year-old protégé to sit in with various top Norwegian acts. Krissy returned to Norway in October 2004, where he appeared on national breakfast TV, did a live national radio session and performed with Larry Burton (Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Albert King) in âMuddy Watersâ club in Oslo, filmed for national TV.

When Krissy got back to the UK, he started his first band Krissyâs Blues Boys - a four piece, with the extra guitar added by Dad. About a year later, Keith Matthews moved on to bass, forming a power blues trio. In 2005 when Krissy was 13, he recorded his first CD âInfluences,â with Mark Freeman on Drums and Keith Matthews on bass, to have something to sell at gigs. But in February the next year, he got a licensing deal in Norway and the CD was renamed âBlues Boy,â for a European release. During March 2006, Krissy was invited backstage to meet his hero BB King, where he received advice on the industry. Krissy went back to Norway for a press weekend to promote the CD, which included the national TV breakfast show again, plus radio and newspaper interviews.
In February 2007, the band went off to Norway to record their second CD âNo Age Limit.â They got their first invite to perform at a European festival, in France where they won a huge response.
In May 2007, Krissy was invited on stage by the late Jeff Healey to perform with him, which turned out to be Jeffâs last ever songs performed in the U.K.

The CD was released in August 2007 with a 15 date tour of Scandinavia, which included supporting Walter Trout in Oslo. That same year, the band had a second European tour in October, which included three shows supporting Robben Ford and club dates in and around Belgium and Holland. Then a support slot for Walter Trout in the U.K, where Krissy jammed with Walter in his headline set too.In April 2008, the band went back to Europe, where they performed 15 shows in 15 days. Krissy quit school in May 2008 to become a full-time, professional musician. In September 2008, the band performed in Lisbon, Portugal, sold out of records and later the same night, a major Brazilian blues guitarist invited Krissy to join him on the main stage in front of 20,000 people. Krissy and his band were invited back the following year to open up the main stage.

The next CD was recorded in January 2009. Krissy got a phone call from Marshall Amplification inviting him to perform for the Marshall Class 5 Amplifier Launch Party at Ronnie Scottâs in London, supporting Joe Bonamassa. In September 2009, the CD was released on the German Membran Records label. It received great reviews, followed up by numerous shows around the UK and Europe. By the age of 18, Krissy had released three albums. The band recorded a session for BBC Radio 2 Paul Jones blues show, which was aired in February 2010 before a string of UK shows.
In 2010, Krissy had his first 15 date tour of Poland. The year ended with the recording of the 4th studio CD, âHit the Rockâ which was released late April 2011. 2011 and 2012 was spent touring and promoting âHit the Rockâ all across Europe. This included the first six date tour of Spain. The band opened up for bands and artists such as Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gregg Allman, Beth Hart, Ten Years After and TOTO, and Krissy was invited to sit in with artists such as Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac), Clem Clempson (Colosseum, Humble Pie), and Chris Farlowe.

Krissy was the darling of the European music and mainstream media. During 2013, he continued touring and cut this current album, his fifth studio album. He assembled a new band; Paul Jobson on Keyboards, Aaron Spiers on Bass and Kevin Hickman on Drums, with special guestâs Nikki Loy and Keith Matthews. Pete Brown was in the producerâs chair. Krissy had first met Pete at a German festival in September 2012, where they developed a good relationship, leading to writing and performing live shows together. The album features 11 originals, and one Blind Willie McTell cover of âSearching the Desert for The Bluesâ.

Krissy and his band â with a new 18 year old drummer - recently made many new friends at an amphitheatre in Germany for a one day rock festival, sharing the stage with Bernie Marsden, Joe Bonamassa and Joe Satriani. The band performed to 6,000 people.Summer 2014, Krissy signed a licensing deal with Proper Records for the new CD, and played many festivals and clubs, including appearances alongside Jimmie Vaughan and Hollywood superstar Steven Seagal. He has now embarked on his busiest touring schedule ever, to promote the new record.

So, to âScenes From A Moving Window.â Iâll quote part of the lyric from track eight: âSearching The Desert For The Blues,â with this: âBut mama you will never find another hot shot like me.â That lyric is pretty apt considering at this very epoch there is a rich seam of young blues guitarists coming through in the UK. Ollie Brown started it a few years ago and passed the baton to the current Young Prince of the UK Blues, Laurence Jones. But Krissy has been there, done all that and worn out the tee shirt. Since he was knee high to a grasshopper, he has been hailed as THE British blues kid destined for big things. Heâs achieved a lot of âem too.
Itâs been a long wait â four years - for a new album from Krissy, but heâs back with a strong statement of intent, and I admire his conviction for focus on originals, pushing the envelope with few boundaries. If nothing else, it is totally honest and Krissy being his own man.

There is massive influence from Pete Brown in the direction of the material, Krissy seemingly has a very open mind and I am told he is not at all âpreciousâ in his attitude, despite his experience.
He really is a phenomenal guitarist and would stand up next to any major league player on the international stage. He sounds like Krissy Matthews with those licks, not a copy cat. Butâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦the vocals across this record do not match the quality or consistency of the playing. But, he is being 100% himself and totally honest, so thereâs no digital skulduggery to make him sound like Pavarotti. Some of the material sounds dated and maybe not a great fit for a youngster of 22 to be delivering in 2015. Some of it is not at all blues either. But if he likes it, itâs his album so he can do what he wants. So there!

My attention dipped in and out across the dozen tracks, but when he had got my attention, he has definitely got it. The guitar work is exceptional and world class. But if you asked me to whistle or hum any of the tunes an hour after playing it all through twice, I couldnât. For me, it doesnât have a niche sound, the material is a mish mash of styles and doesnât quite know what it wants to be. I have given the record an 8/10 score. Stronger vocals and more consistent material with a core sound would have given him another 2 points. Now if you were to ask me to score the guitar playing on its own, thatâs just got to be a big fat 10. Outstanding stuff.

One of his album titles told us there were no age limits. So, age should not matter. Talent is what counts, whether you are 22 or 72. But, Krissy was amazing at 12 and is incredible a decade later. How damn good is he likely to be in another 10 or 20 years time? He still has maybe another five or six decades of performing and recording left in him, too.

While everyone is banging on about the new whipper snapper guitar slingers cropping up every five minutes, labelled âthe future of the blues,â and the ânext Joe Bonamassa,â (yawn yawn) Krissy Matthewsâ name should be writ large as the eldest brother of the UK blues guitaristsâ and heâs still only 22!!! Heâs not the next anyone. He is the first and only Krissy Matthews, and still has massive potential to do even more than he already has.
Words SIMON REDLEY

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