In a time where guitar-driven music is not nearly as popular as it was in the past, that never made playing in a traditional blues-rock trio any less of an aspiration for myself as a musician.
The classic instrumentation of drums, electric guitar and bass leaves a lot of
space for improvisation, and each band member contributes their own flavor to the sound and can stand out well in the mix.
After coming to Wesleyan last year, I had the privilege of meeting drummer
Alex Bertrand (who I call “Bert”), who also plays in the Virginia Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble.
After jamming together and determining we had chemistry, I contacted my longtime friend David Huffman- who is the best bass guitarist I have ever heard- and we came together to form the Matty Taylor Trio.
Bert has told me he likes the fact that the band is formatted like a blues trio because “it’s never really a break focusing on a specific instrument- it’s all about working together to keep the time and groove of the song and have a good time.”
The style of music that our band plays is perfect for our musical skill set- groovy, hard-hitting blues tunes with extended guitar solos and jam breaks are at times just as exciting to play as they are to hear at a show.
Oftentimes, when we play events and festivals where other rock and blues bands are playing, the band and I are by far the youngest musicians present.
I think this is partially because genres such as the blues and rock aren’t as popularized within pop culture as they have been in the past- for example, the guitar hero craze of the 1980s inspired by shredders like Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young.
When there are prominent, talented guitarists making music, more young people are exposed to their style and as a result inspired to play music similar to their idols in the genre.
The blues comes naturally to me for many reasons: musically speaking, it’s a
simple form and it’s almost always heavily improvised and free-flowing.
Playing with soul is also the most important part of playing blues, and it even surpasses the importance of technical abilities in my opinion.
The emotions conveyed through music are vital to performing the blues in not only an authentic way, but a way that causes an emotional response from our listeners. To me, that’s the most important thing and also a big part of the reason I play music in the first place.
In addition to his performances, Matthew “Matty” Taylor is a psychology major and German minor, and he is class of
2024 vice president and president of Asian
BY MATTHEW TAYLOR