“I have been giggin’ since I was 13, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Matt Schofield, blues guitarist. Schofield and his band performed at Kutztown University Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ursa Minor Cafe.
The crowd responded to Schofield’s comical sarcasm and quick-wit as soon as he stepped on stage. The energy increased as the audience clapped their hands and tapped their feet to Schofield and his band.
Jill Hoppes, 19, said “This was my first time listening to a blues band perform, but I would definitely watch them play again.”
Jonny Henderson of Bristol, England has been playing with Schofield for 16 years. Kevin Hayes met Schofield in Toronto, Canada, when he joined the band on bass.
Schofield said his father got him interested in music when he was a child. At age 12, Schofield began experimenting with instruments, and six months later, he started his own band. At 18, Schofield moved in London where he played for different bands to gain experience.
“It didn’t matter that they weren’t my bands, I was just happy to make music,” he said.
He started his own band in 2002 and put their first record together in one year. Schofield always had the high goal to tour in the US, and in 2010 that dream came true.
The band faced some struggles along the way.
“It took awhile to break through,” Schofield said, “We aren’t supported by mainstream music so we had to work harder than most artists.”
In 2010, he was awarded the British Blues Guitarist of the Year. That same year, his band earned the British Blues Album of the Year. His successful streak continued in 2011 when he won the Guitarist of the Year again and also the Mojo Magazine Blues Album of the Year.
Schofield also had the privilege to play with his hero, Buddy Guy.
“Buddy is one of the original pioneers of blues guitar. It was a true honor to play with him,” he said.
Though he and his band have been very successful so far, he explained that being able to perform blues music is a success in the first place.
While he loves blues music, Schofield said the traveling takes a toll on him at times.
“Not seeing my family and dogs can get tough. We have to sleep in different beds and eat different foods every day,” he said, “Everyone has something they don’t like about their job, and for me, it’s flying, eating random food and sleeping in uncomfortable places. But those two hours I’m on stage is my fun.”
Schofield also said that he has traveled to great places because of blues. He has performed in India, Indonesia and Finland. His favorite “gig” was at the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada.
“It was a two-week festival with a great vibe. Everyone had such a great appreciation for music,” Schofield said.
At only 34, Schofield said he plans to continue to play for great audiences.
“I just really want to reach more people. I’d also like better accommodations when we travel,” he said.
By Megan Bratton