Winning Merlefest’s Doc Watson Guitar Championship in 1997 at the age of 15, at a time when he was performing with his family band, Matt later honed his bluegrass chops performing across the U.S. and in Europe as Valerie Smith’s lead guitar player.
He began performing with the Greencards in 2004, an experience that immersed Matt in a musically broader, more progressive repertoire, deepening his musical vocabulary and his facility with complex arrangements.
From 2006-08, his work as a member with a hot young band, The Lovell Sisters, opened the door for Matt to play a more significant creative role, lending a strong hand to the selection and arrangement of material. It also gave him the opportunity to return to the Merlefest stage in 2008, coming full circle to play the festival that was so key to launching his career at age 15. That year, Matt also released a solo CD, A Good Dream, to excellent reviews.
Matt brings impressive credentials and a mature, improvisational musicality seemingly far beyond his years, making him a natural for The Claire Lynch Band – Claire Lynch.
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine featured Matt on the cover of its March/April 2009 issue, praising not only his flatpicking prowess, but also his level of musicianship and his considerable talents as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (including guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, bass, drums and dobro).
…Matt is one of the most exciting young musicians in bluegrass music today. He has great chops, but he’s also got a lot of soul – award winning Dobro player, Rob Ickes.
Find out more about Matt by visiting www.myspace.com/matthewwingate