Payin' Dues: Matt Woosey

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WORCESTERSHIRE’S MATT Woosey plied his trade in local band Taxi before 2008’s Old Smithy. Averaging an album a year, he’s just issued Desiderata, his most personal. “I’ve always found it cathartic to sing about my life,” he says.

Is it important to dig deep and write about what you know?

Coming, as I do, from a blues background, I feel my best work has always come direct from the heart. This album finds me happier than I’ve ever been and extremely grateful for the opportunity to put these changes down in the form of music with some sensationally talented people. Since my last album, I’ve got married, had a baby, moved to Germany, got a little bit fatter.

It’s the first time you’ve used the piano as a shared lead instrument. How did that shape the album’s sound?

Bruce O’Neil is the director of music at the Royal Shakespeare Company and his piano playing softened the overall sound and added a dimension. I had Danny Thompson on bass and Clive Deamer on drums. Both have been a big inspiration, Danny for his work with John Martyn, and Clive for his work with Robert Plant And The Strange Sensation. Mighty ReArranger is one of my favourite albums.

Was it Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin who introduced you to the blues?

Through them I found a treasure trove of blues guys and gals, way too many to mention. The music I listened to ardently as a boy got into my bones and shaped me.

How did you go from fan to player?

I plucked up the courage to start playing at jams in my local pub. Sometimes Nigel Kennedy would show up. They were real good times when I had no agenda and no expectations, I was just playing for a free pint and learning by doing. Then I started doing open mics, folk clubs and acoustic nights. It grew slowly from there.

In 2014 you played with Gerry McAvoy’s Band Of Friends.

It was a cool gig and I got Gerry to sign my vinyl copy of [Rory Gallagher’s 1972 album] Live In Europe, a balls-to-the-wall blues-rock album, which was a huge influence on me. They celebrate Rory’s music in a fun yet competent way.

What motivates you to make music?

The knowledge that I am entirely useless at everything else. I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to making and performing music. I’m in too deep, and that’s how I like it.

Desiderata is out now on Robar Music Records.