Booking Agent: Evangeline ElstonBooking Inquiry
Matt Axton is a gifted singer/songwriter. Granted, that’s a claim made by many artists that inhabit the world of Americana these days, but in Matt’s case, it’s more than a mere boast. The ability to make music is firmly infused in his genes, courtesy of a family history that implanted that ability in him early on.
While he modestly describes his sound as a “humble slice of Americana,” it’s clear that it possesses so much more. With a style that encompasses country, folk, roots, rock, R&B, and pure pop proficiency, he defies easy categorization. With a rich reservoir of original tunes — over 300 in fact — and three well received albums (Blue Sky Rain, Matthew C. Axton and Badmoon), he’s established himself as a prolific and proficient singer, songwriter and guitarist, both on his own and at the helm of his various ensembles.
Even a small sampling of his musical output proves the point. His current single, “Blue Sky Rain,” the title track of his current album, is both stirring and seductive, an easy amble that belies its description of the topsy turvy travails that accompany the entanglements of relationships.
“Born of Chains,” culled from Badmoon, is flush with steadfast determination, a rugged, relentless bluesy-rocker that conveys clear conviction and a desire to overcome whatever obstacles are tossed in his way.
On the other hand, the good-natured “Everything” is an homage to romance, desire and faithfulness shared with some upbeat bluegrass banter. Here again, Matt demonstrates his remarkable fluidity and a decidedly affable attitude.
Notably, he also keeps good company. Matt has recorded original material with Steve Ferrone (drummer for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) and Hal Cragin (bassist for Iggy Pop), and shared sessions at the legendary East West Studios in Hollywood where Tom Petty recorded much of his work. The songs include: “Last search, a Southern rock-style anthem; “Born of Chains,” which shares a sparse and dark singer/songwriter vibe, the Americana style “What a Day,” the soulful strains of “Soul to Sell,” and “The Big “South, a blues groove reminiscent ZZ Top.
He’s also recently collaborated with the L.A. funk ensemble Loud as Funk , Bluegrass band Water Tower and the Lake Tahoe-based Americana band Dead Winter Carpenters. The verve and versatility underscore the fact that Matt is a master of many motifs.
Indeed, his has been an interesting journey, one spawned from a family lineage that’s both respected and revered. Matt’s grandmother, Mae Boren Axton, co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel” for Elvis Presley. His dad, the legendary singer-songwriter Hoyt Axton, penned some of the most indelible songs within the entire canon of popular music, among them, “Joy to the World” and “Never Been to Spain” for Three Dog Night, “The Pusher” for the band Steppenwolf, and “The No No Song,” covered by Ringo Starr. So too, his mother, Donna Axton, was a composer, an astute pianist and a respected music professor.
“I grew up with music that filtered down to me from both sides of my family,” Matt recalls. “Each had a distinctly different connection to their craft, but it was that genuine love for music as a power for good that inspired their desire to embrace all that it could offer.”
Nevertheless, coming from such auspicious lineage can be intimidating, but happily, Matt’s made a mark all on his own. Born and raised at Lake Tahoe, he spent his younger years hopping on and off tour buses, hanging out backstage and becoming acquainted with the colorful characters that inhabit the inner sanctums of show biz. Ironically, he never considered a career that involved making music until an injury made him bed-ridden, and, with little else to occupy his time, led him to pick up a guitar and share some songs of his own.
After reaching adulthood, he resettled in Los Angeles, and embarked on a quest to find his muse. He gained inspiration through his journey and the scenic surroundings of his western environs. “Playing music makes me feel whole,” Matt insists. “When the song is clicking, and the band and audience are moving along to the groove, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s my drug. It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve found. Music can cross oceans, transcend cultures, bridge generations, and lift people up. It’s capable of bringing unity, transformation and momentary escape from the trials and tribulations of a decidedly difficult world.”
At the same time, Matt’s main priority is sharing stories, and while he doesn’t always opt for introspection, he does take a personal perspective and intertwine those experiences within his nuanced narratives.
“I like to convey the lessons that I’ve learned, but the songs don’t always have to be complicated or complex,” he explains. “My goal is simply to bring these anecdotal episodes to life and allow my listeners to take from them what they will. I want the music to revolve around the lyrics, to give meaning, emphasis and importance. I aim to create melodies that offer a certain reverence for tradition, while also giving them a contemporary context. I attempt to bring these songs full circle, so that at the end of the day, there’s some sort of lesson learned… or at very least, a reason to laugh, cry or simply rock to the rhythm.”
Matt recently released a video of his single,, “Blue Sky Rain,” (https://youtu.be/-aQb6O44mB4), a song that evokes bittersweet sentiments while referencing love, loss and the realization that there are rewards that come simply from learning life’s lessons. Shot amidst the scenic splendor of the Joshua Tree desert, the video conveys the ups and downs of a relationship, with a narrative that frames both the action and entanglement through cinematic suggestion, ultimately reaching no decided conclusion but instead, a full array of personal possibilities.
Tastemaker Diane Lockner of Triple Tiger Records lauded the effort, saying of the album, “Blue Sky Rain sounds like it could be on a television series or movie soundtrack. The video is a beautiful piece of art that lends a visual landscape to his smooth distinct vocals. This feels like it could find a home in the Triple A/Americana format. Add to that Matt’s lineage and you’ve got a cool story.”
After a retreat from the road due to the pandemic, Matt returned to live performances in 2022 with multiple tours headlining shows in Los Angeles, Oklahoma and Nashville and throughout California. Matt earned the praises of other professionals in the process.
“Matt’s powerful songwriting and vocals, along with his natural rapport with the audience, was the highlight of the 4th of July celebration where we hired him to play for the 3,500 people at Donner Lake,” said Ben Martin, executive director of the Tahoe Truckee School of Music and Tahoe Music Professionals booking service.
Matt Axton has clearly earned the right to be celebrated all on his own. Given his verve and versatility, he can’t be confined to any one genre. “People have said my songwriting is hyper eclectic,” he reflects. I’ve written at least one song in every style I can think of. I give credit to my dad as well as those artists that influenced me early on The Doors, Led Zeppelin, B.B. King, Sublime and The Allman Brothers, among them. However, I’m mostly interested in sharing my journey, no matter how much it shifts in regard to tone and tempo. Music is my calling and I can’t imagine living any other way.”