Matt Smith Coming Home October 8th, 9th to Putnam Place

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Longtime capital district musician Matt Smith is returning to the region for a week of concerts and workshops to celebrate the release of four new albums. Matt grew up in the Clifton Park area and resided in the area until 1994 when he first moved to NYC for 15 years before building a home in Austin, Texas at Six String Ranch.

We had the opportunity to talk with Matt a bit about his history here, career, and hopes for the future. He will be at Putnam Place on October 9th and 10th and is offering some workshop opportunities for folks to learn from the legend in person. He’s offering a workshop on Slide Guitar and Open Tunings at Parkway Music in Clifton Park on Tuesday, Oct 8, 7-8:30 pm, for $20.

Nipper: You are from the capital region originally. Can you tell us where you grew up and went to school?

MS: I grew up in Jonesville and went to Shenendehowa. I was the kid with the beard at 13. I got myself into all kinds of mischief! 

Nipper: When did you first start playing? Was guitar your first musical instrument?

MS: Clarinet, in 4th grade. I still remember the smell of the cork grease! There were always guitars around, my mom played classical guitar and there were musicians and luthiers on my father’s side. I started at 10, never put it down.

Nipper: You mention in one of your YouTube videos that slide guitar is a very American, human sound and you’ve been playing since you were a kid. What musicians inspired you as a young musician?

MS: Staying up late and watching the Midnight Special and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.

Upstate NY had an amazing music scene with bands touring from Boston through to Chicago. As a young musician, I just tried to soak it all in and learn as much as I could.

Nipper: Your lessons are well-loved on youtube, and you’ve offered a lot of clinics. What are a few pieces of advice that you’d give to a guitar player?

MS: Compose. It helps you find your direction and gives focus to all you learn. If you’re an improviser, sing everything you play.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. They call it playing.

Nipper: You have a prolific career in music, and right now you are working in a youth addiction and recovery center using music for healing. How did that come about?

MS: When I moved to Austin, I was asked to help install a recording studio at a youth rehab center. Two years passed when a former student reached out to me to help start a program at that facility. 8 years and around 400 songs later, I’d say I’m a very lucky man to help these kids express themselves. Some of the most powerful music I’ve worked on.

Nipper: When we look you up in 10 years, where will we find you?

MS: Hopefully still at 6 String Ranch, in Austin.

5 years in, we’re still growing. Now we have 4 String Ranch, the Bass version and Rancho de las Cuerdas, our Spanish YouTube channel. I hope to be writing and recording myself and others, and getting out and touring. And making more videos!!

Nipper: What’s one of the best moments in your career in music?

MS: The next moment is the best one! Looking forward, as well as back. I pretty much live in the present. So coming home and seeing so many old friends and seeing what’s going on up here is pretty sweet!

Nipper: If you could go to one concert (musician does not have to be living), who would you want to see/hear and why?

MS: Space Diva from the 5th Element.

Self-explanatory.

Nipper: You have a few shows coming up in the area. Please tell our readers why they shouldn’t miss them!

MS: My history here: Ameggedon, Interstate, EB Jeb, and then, for 6 years, The Matt Smith Band, the best iteration featuring Tony Perrino, Chris Peck, Pete Sweeney, Brian Melick, and Charlie Tokarz, all of whom are great friends and completely badass musicians. 

On Wed Oct 9 and Thursday, Oct 10, we will be performing songs from 10 albums worth of material I’m re-releasing, as well as music from 4 new ones. He’ll I’m 60 now. If not now, when?

We’re even gonna rehearse! It will be great! 

It will be lifelong friends sharing music together for the love and joy of doing it. 

If you need something to raise your spirit, If you want to see some serious musical mischief, If you like that sort of thing we’d sure love to see you!!

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