music Get ready, East Texas, for the Matthew Davidson Band by Amanda Retallack At an age when most young guys are figuring out how to be a teenager, Shreveport’s Matthew Davidson was up on stage trading hot licks with blues great Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The then 11-year-old was one of eight student guitarists selected to play alongside Shepherd at Shreveport’s 2009 Artbreak Concert, the largest children’s festival in Louisiana. Nine electric guitars simultaneously wailed the sounds of “Ledbetter Heights,” one of Shepherd’s well-known instrumental blues jams. The crowd, Davidson recalled, went wild. “It was a complete honor to be part of that experience,” Davidson said. “It was a packed house; the crowd was excited and responsive. Everyone came out to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd.” Today, two years later, Davidson and his band, The Matthew Davidson Band, play to a packed house — and everyone comes out to see him and his band members. Greg Clifford on drums and Bruce Flett on bass/vocals jam out to some serious blues and rock music. The Matthew Davidson Band made their debut on June 25, 2010 at the Madison Park El Chico. Since then, they have played at numerous festivals, restaurants, biker rallies, state fairs, and private parties. They’ve made their electric rounds all across Louisiana, and now they’re headed to Texas. The band has a packed calendar, and East Texas is a big part of their tour. The band will be playing at Longview’s AlleyFest on Friday, June 3; at Linden’s T-Bone Walker Blues Fest on Friday, June 17; and at Crossroads in Winnsboro on July 30. Spend any time with Davidson, and you’ll immediately pick up on the fact that he’s friendly, he has a fun sense of humor, and he loves his guitar. “Guitar is my main thing – sometimes I like to hang out with friends and watch TV, but I love playing guitar,” he said. “When I hold my guitar, I get energy. Once I plug in and get going, it’s a great feeling.”
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Nothing about Davidson suggests precociousness or preternatural musical skills. But Davidson is — by definition and demeanor — a child prodigy. In any case, he has a neat little story that adds color to his musically inclined city. He’s from Shreveport, and he grew up listening to his dad’s CD collection ranging from CCR to The Doobie Brothers. “When I was six, I started listening to Dad’s Beatles’ collection,” Davidson recalled. “That’s still my favorite band to date.” The more he listened, the more he wanted to sink his teeth into the music world. His parents bought him an acoustic guitar, and he started weekly lessons when he was only seven years old. (Today at 13 years old, his inspirations are listed as The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his guitar instructor Jerry Beach). He has barely stopped strumming since he began his lessons! He won his first electric guitar in the 2007 James Burton Guitar Showdown, and he has played at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS and the Delta Blues Fest in Greenville, MS, where in addition to his own set, he sat in with Honeyboy Edwards for a few songs. He’s also shared the stage with greats such as Bugs Henderson, Buddy Flett, Joe Osborn, Maggie Warwick, Brady Blade, Dan Garner and Kenny Bill Stinson. But he hasn’t let it go to his head, and his modesty is one thing that makes you like him so much. “Each day, I feel very blessed,” the small superstar said. In fact, all the band members come from music-infused backgrounds. Fifteen-year-old Clifford has been playing drums since he was two and has been taking lessons since he was four. He studied for five years under the direction of Eddy Kozak, is currently taking symphonic percussion lessons, and he plays in his school concert and jazz band. He has won several awards at regional competitions in his school bands. Clifford has performed with Kozak and Buddy Flett, as well as performing regular shows in the Shreveport-Bossier and surrounding
A monthly magazine of artists and artistic happenings in the Piney Woods region of North East Texas.