Artist Rodney Matthews has released a festive package which includes a star-studded collaboration CD and Christmas card.
A respected fantasy and sci-fi artist, Matthews has produced cover art for acts including Asia, Rick Wakeman, Thin Lizzy, Nazareth, Praying Mantis and Magnum.
And last year he played drums on Christmas-themed track I Saw Three Ships – which features guitars by Jeff Scheetz, bass by Asia man John Payne, keyboards by former Yes star Oliver Wakeman and vocals by Bob Catley from Magnum. Pete Coleman adds bagpipes and recorder to the track.
For this Christmas, the song is available as a CD single which comes packaged with Matthews’ matching Christmas card.
He tells Prog: “There is a long history concerning this project. I was able to recruit the musicians to play on this track without too much difficulty, having worked as a designer and illustrator on many of their album covers – three for Asia, featuring John Payne, more than I can remember for Magnum featuring Bob Catley, one for Jeff Scheetz album Behind The Mask and having licensed images to Oliver Wakeman and his father Rick.
“I have known Jeff Scheetz for more than 20 years, and although we had planned writing material for an album inspired by my artwork, there were many hold-ups and obstacles. The project, however, is now under way in earnest, with the spin-off Christmas card and CD now available for sale worldwide.”
Matthews adds that the album will likely be called Trinity and that new material is in the works.
He says: “I have recorded drum tracks for tracks called Trinity, Mirador, The Heavy Metal Hero, The Leavetaking and Rivendell. The same musicians as on Three Ships are currently recording their parts, more tunes are being written and more big names are expected to join us.
“All my life I have wanted to make an album, but my artwork has always taken precedence over my drumming. It is typical of the very long gestation periods associated with my projects, but hey, watch this space.”
In January, Matthews is holding an exhibition of his art in Somerset. He says: “People often ask if I have originals that can be viewed. Well now here’s your chance. I am holding an exhibition, titled Ionawr, beginning January. Don’t forget to bring your fucking cheque books!”
The I Saw Three Ships Christmas package is available in a range of options. Visit his webstore for full details.