New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

On stage with Iain Matthews

By Gary Wien

On stage with Iain MatthewsIain Matthews first gained attention in the late 1960s as a founding member and vocalist for the influential British folk band Fairport Convention on their first three albums. He went on to create Matthews’ Southern Comfort, whose cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” topped the charts in the UK in 1971. In addition to a lengthy solo career, he’s also released several albums with Plainsong.  In a strange twist, he has brought back both Matthews’ Southern Comfort and Plainsong at various times throughout the years.

On September 8, Matthews returns to The Strand Theater in Lakewood to perform with Jim Fogarty in a special “backstage pass” setup.  These shows place the artists and the audience on stage together. The Strand turns into something of an intimate listening room.  Matthews said he plans to play songs from throughout his career including ones that might appear on the upcoming album by Matthews’ Southern Comfort, Like A Radio, which is due out in 2018.

“I try to cover as much ground as possible, but ultimately only scratch the surface,” explained Matthews. “There will be old songs, but new songs too.  I’ve played in all kinds of configurations and the Strand is a unique but workable one, featuring direct contact with your audience. Ray Coles is gracious enough to keep having me back.”

His last album was called The Art of Obscurity, a thinly veiled statement to the music world that Matthews was not only still around but continuing to produce great music.  Like A Radio continues that message.

“Being on the outer curve of music and working without a net is an art,”  continued Matthews. “I love what I do and as long as that’s the case I will continue to be that obscure guy from the 60s. For me it’s not about the numbers.  It’s more a testament that I’m still here and feeling the muse. New recordings are musical calling cards, reminding people who you are now and where they can find you.”



The article continues after this ad

 


Matthews will never be just an obscure guy from the 60s.  In fact, Fairport Convention is often thought of as one of the most important bands in English folk rock history. Even though he was only with the band from 1967–1969, he was part of the pivotal creation of the group.  Looking back at that period of time, he says they were just “five kids having fun with the daily grind” - none of them had any idea about the importance of what the band meant to the folk scene or what they would mean to history.

“My entire career has been a series of fortunate encounters,” said Matthews who was very surprised when he topped the UK charts.  “Any kind of success in this business takes me by surprise. ‘Woodstock’ was the first and most exciting. It’s still opening new doors to this day.”

Matthews only came close to reaching the top of the charts one other time when his solo track “Shake It” nearly cracked the top ten in America in 1979.  Other songs of his to make the Billboard Top 100 include “Mare, Take Me Home” and “Tell Me Why” by Matthews’ Southern Comfort and solo singles “Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)” and “Give Me An Inch.”  A small sample of commercial success, but hit songs were never his focus.

“I don’t function in hit terms,” he explained. “For me it’s about evolving, both as songwriter, a player and as a human being. Hits are stepping stones. Every time a song becomes popular, one can add 10 years onto a career. I’ve been more fortunate than most.”

Instead of focusing on his songs, he has tried getting the most of the bands he’s been with — reuniting both Matthews’ Southern Comfort and Plainsong years after their original runs.  When asked why he decided to bring those bands back he said, “Mostly because we didn’t get it right the first time and I believe in completing circles. With Matthews’ Southern Comfort, I’ve resisted being a heritage act for 40 years and now it’s time to dig that furrow. We’ve recently finished a new album, Like a Radio, and later this year we’ll begin taking it to the streets.” 

On stage with Iain Matthews“If nothing else, it’s fun to keep changing horses,” he added. “Keeps it all fresh and vital.”

He recently found himself revisiting his career (over 50 years in the music business) when someone suggested that he create “memento boxes” for sale.  He wound up assembling a half dozen boxes or so, each crafted for a specific time period with photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, show tickets, and other memorabilia from show tickets to concert posters.

“It began as a joke really,” recalled Matthews. “I made one for a kind benefactor and liked the result. I had a couple more requests and it just lifted off from there. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for something made by these hands from my personal archives, I’m your man. Just name your era.”

Iain Matthews will perform with Jim Fogarty at The Strand (400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood, NJ) on Friday, September 8, 2017 at 7:30pm.  Tickets are $19.



originally published: 2017-08-22 14:03:18



Upcoming Events

Levoy Theatre Presents Travis Tritt

Levoy Theatre Presents Travis Tritt

(MILLVILLE, NJ) -- The Levoy Theatre presents country music star Travis Tritt on Friday, July 6 at 8:00pm.  More than 27 years after Travis Tritt launched his music career, the Southern rock influenced artist continues to display strong sales activity, sell-out shows, and stay true and relevant to country music fans across the globe. Continuously performing shows and withholding a heavy appearance schedule, Tritt is proving to be unstoppable. Tickets range from $59 to $69.


The 2018 New Jersey Uke Fest

The 2018 New Jersey Uke Fest

(WHIPPANY, NJ) -- The Folk Project presents the 2018 New Jersey Uke Fest on August 24-25 at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany and an outdoor Jam on the Morristown Green on Sunday, August 26.  This is the Folk Project's sixth annual ukulele festival, complete with everything you've come to expect from a uke fest: concerts, workshops, vendors, open mics, jams and more! Performers include Victoria Vox, Abe Lagrimas, Jr., Gracie Terzian, and The Aloha Boys and Alan Distajo, all of whom will also be presenting workshops. In addition Marc Dutton, Debi Velasco, Tyler St.Clare, Mihal Gross, Dave Kleiner and FiL Wisneski wil serve as additional workshop presenters.


Westminster Choir College Holds Summer Choral Reading Session In Bristol Chapel

Westminster Choir College Holds Summer Choral Reading Session In Bristol Chapel

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Westminster Choir College of Rider University will host a summer choral reading session on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30pm in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster campus in Princeton.  Westminster alumnus Anthony Maglione will lead a reading of Ralph Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pacem. Participants can bring their own scores or borrow one from Westminster. Admission is free.


New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs free summer concert at Ocean County College

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs free summer concert at Ocean County College

(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs a free outdoor concert of Broadway songs, opera overtures and more at Ocean County College in Toms River on Tuesday, June 26 at 8:00pm. This event is sponsored by JCP&L/FirstEnergy Foundation and PNC Bank and presented in partnership with Ocean County College.








Event calendar
Monday, Jun 18, 2018


MUSIC


BRUCE HORNSBY & THE NOISEMAKERS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

HARRY CONNICK, JR. @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

AUDITIONS: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 7:30pm


COMEDY

MIKE FINOIA, KEVIN FLYNN, KYLE GROOMS @ The Music Box @ Borgata Casino Hotel, Atlantic City - 9:00pm


FILM

ACTION POINT @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm






View all events










 
















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.