Blues Underground Network

Matthew Davidson "Step Up" (USA)


Just received a great EP from Matthew Davidson, titled "Step Up", and I must say it is pretty good, actually I meant to say, it is really good, especially considering the fact that at the time of release, Davidson was still just 14 years old. Now I know what I was doing at that age and it certainly wasn't blowing away my peers the way Matthew Davidson has already been doing for a number of years now.
Matthew Davidson received his first Guitar at the age of 3, and although it was only a toy guitar, it made no difference to him. Davidson started taking lessons in second grade, which eventually led to him winning his first electric guitar in 2007, at what was called, the James Burton Guitar Showdown. From then on it was pretty well accolade after accolade for this rising star, starting with Davidson being chosen from, "the youngest of eight student guitarists selected to play with Kenny Wayne Shepherd at his 2009 Artbreak Concert." From there it progressed to performing at the 2011 IBC as part of the Youth Showcase, jamming at B.B. King's Museum, and Homecoming Concert and many more other high end events, sharing the stage with many of the greats including, Joe Osborn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Honeyboy Edwards, to name but a few.
In 2011, "Matthew was the 2011 winner of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation New Generation Award. “His style was advanced for his age,” said Steven Johnson, Robert’s grandson and vice president of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation." Now with Matthew Davidson's Debut EP release, we all get a chance to listen to this extraordinary talent, in action.
"Step Up", consists of 4 Tracks, 3 of which are covers and 1 instrumental written by Davidson. In addition to Matthew Davidson, on Guitar and Vocals, Tyrone Harris on Drums, and Maddison Gilcrease & Carmen Bradford Background Vocals, "Step Up" also featured Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Osborn on Bass, a famed L.A. and Nashville session musician, whoms "playing can be heard on records by such well-known groups as The Mamas & the Papas, The Association, and The 5th Dimension. Osborn can be heard on Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water" and the 5th Dimension's version of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"." Joe Osborn all took the reigns of Producer for "Step Up".
"Step Up" starts off with a cover of the Pop/Rock smash hit from 2001 called "The Middle", from James Adkins of the acclaimed band, Jimmy Eat World. This opening Track lays to rest one of 2 concerns of mine and that is can this 14 year sing, and boy was I amazed to hear just how good of a sound Matthew Davidson has with his Vocals. His amazing Vocals come through even stronger on the 2nd Track, "Gonna Be My Girl".
The one Track I was really looking forward to was Track 3, "Lie To Me", a song that I believe any young Blues artists or musician for that matter, should have a go at. Matthew Davidson did a superb job on the song that Jonny Lang made super famous. Again fabulous Vocals from Matthew as well as Killer Guitar, especially when he kicks into a solo about halfway through the Track. Maddison Gilcrease & Carmen Bradford do a wonderful job with Background Vocals on the first 3 Tracks, with "Lie To Me", really being the icing on the cake.
Track 4, "Step Up" has no problem laying to rest about Matthew Davidson's forte' at playing Guitar, as he offers up a very well done instrumental.
There is no doubt in my mind, after listening to "Step Up", that Matthew Davidson is certainly the real deal, being equally proficient in both Pop/Rock and Blues genres, with my hope being he explores the Blues or Blues Rock end of the spectrum, but never the less, he is already great in what he does and the sky is the limit regardless of which musical direction he chooses to dominate.
"Step Up" is a fantastic intro to a fantastic very talented rising star...
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
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