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The box set Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection brings to light...

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Downbeat 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Downbeat Magazine

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Anyone who's looking to advance their career would be very well served to have Michael...

Sari Schorr

New York songwriter/bandleader/singer

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Michael is a 21st century renaissance man who has both the business acumen and the...

Don Wilcock

Freelance Music Writer

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Matthew Skoller

Matthew Skollar plays harmonica on one track of H-Bomb Ferguson’s Wiggin’ Out (Earwig CD 4926).

As with many blues performers of his generation, Skoller has been influenced as much by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers as by the legends of blues. Skoller’s take on the blues tradition is about letting his own voice come through — his culture, his experience.

Skoller moved to Chicago in January 1987. His already mature harmonica playing led a number of musicians to take him under their wings. He paid his dues backing up a “who’s who” of creative and passionate musicians, including the legendary Jimmy Rogers, Big Time Sarah, and Deitra Farr. Skoller’s emotional, high-energy style caught the ear of veteran bassist/vocalist J.W. Williams who invited Skoller to join his band, the Chi-Town Hustlers. The next year, Skoller became a member of Big Daddy Kinsey and The Kinsey Report, touring with the band throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Despite his success working with others, Skoller heard the crying of an inner voice and since 1992 has led his own band. Like a tornado, he’s blown through the Chicago blues scene. During the 1996 Democratic convention, Tom Brokaw’s NBC Nightly News In-Depth Report featured the Matthew Skoller Band performing live at B.L.U.E.S. Also in 1996, the band was awarded an artist-in-residency position at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida.

In October 1996, the band was a prizewinner at the International Blues Talent Competition held by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. That same year, Hohner Harmonicas installed Skoller as an endorsee.

1996 also saw the release of the first Matthew Skoller Band CD, Bone to Pick with You, which Vintage Guitar Magazine called “a strong debut.” In 1999, the band released Shoulder to the Wind, for which French Blues magazine Soul Bag noted Skoller’s “excellence as an instrumentalist, but also as a composer.” TapRoot followed in 2003.

Tongue ‘N Groove Records has just released the fourth Matthew Skoller Band album, These Kind Of Blues!, in January 2005.

Skoller’s harmonica sound continues to be much in demand. In February 2000, Alligator Records employed him to play harmonica on Koko Taylor’s CD, Royal Blue. Skoller’s harmonica is featured on 11 songs on the new CD, Knocking At Your Door, from guitarist John Primer. He’s also played on albums by Bernard Allison, Larry Garner, Big Daddy Kinsey, Big Time Sarah, Michael Coleman , Harvey Mandel, among others, and has recorded a number of television jingles.

matthew skoller blues harpist
Harpist