Back in the early 2000’s (that’s weird to say), there was a band in Fayetteville called the Thomas Grey Band. I worked as a bartender at Powerhouse Seafood, and they played there a lot. It seemed like they played everywhere a lot.
They broke up in 2004, and lead singer/songwriter of the band Matt Jones began his solo career.
Then, it seemed like he was everywhere.
Matt was kind of a fixture of the Fayetteville music scene for several years, until he moved to Los Angeles last year to concentrate on his music.
He’ll be back in town this weekend to play a set of old Motown tunes at George’s, called the Matt Jones Soul Review.
We got in touch with Matt, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
FF: What have you been listening to lately?
Matt Jones: I’ve been listening to Kings Of Leon’s Only By The Night pretty heavily since it was released. I love space on a record and every song has enough space for me to really surround myself with the music. I’ve also been listening to Motown records again, not only to refresh myself for the Evening Of Soul show coming up, but it’s always been my musical rock to turn to for inspiration.
FF: You’ve been in several bands around town. What are some that Fayetteville folks may have heard?
MJ: I’ve been playing Dickson for almost ten years now so it’s really hard to tell when somebody might have first seen me or would know my music. The most successful outing of the bands past would be The Thomas Grey Band. It was a lot of fun playing with those guys every night and, as a credit to the caliber of players I was surrounded with, they led us to a couple NAMA and OMA wins. I only started playing as a solo artist in 2004.
FF: You’ve been in Los Angeles for a while, correct? What have you been up to out there?
MJ: I’ve been living in L.A. for about 9 months now. It’s been both the most traumatic and most gratifying experiences of my life. I’m now in a place where I can solely focus on writing and recording my first full length album, at my own pace, in a world class studio, all without having to walk more than 20 feet to work. It’s a dream job.
FF: What are some Fayetteville bands that you’ve stayed in contact with that you admire?
MJ: The music community in Fayetteville is incredibly healthy. Musicians in Fayetteville, in my experience, honestly respect and care for each other tremendously. The closest relationship musically that I have is probably with Benjamin Del Shreve and the guys in his band. Though we’re all different stylistically, there’s not only a deep appreciation and desire for each other’s music but also a true friendship there. He’s someone that I love to talk shop with but at the end of the day I’ve got his back and he’s got mine.
FF: Tell me a little bit about your show at George’s on Friday. You’re doing a Mo-town set?
We’re billing it as An Evening Of Soul. It’s really an extension of who I feel I am as an artist and performer. These songs are the songs of my childhood and to this day keep me inspired to create. This will be the third outing for this set and it just keeps getting better and better. We’ve added some new songs to the list and this time around we will showcase individual members of the band more than we have before. It’s an exciting, fun atmosphere.
FF: How annoying is it that you’re from Fayetteville, and you share a name with one of the most famous quarterbacks in Arkansas Football history?
MJ: I really don’t find it annoying at all. It’s humorous at times but for the most part, it doesn’t come up. That’s not to say it was that way when I first started playing out.
FF: When you’ve been away from Fayetteville for a while, what’s the first restaurant you want to visit when you come back to town?
MJ: The first three restaurants I went to when I came back home were La Huerta, Common Grounds, and The Venetian Inn in Tontitown. Definitely favorites of mine.
FF: How many records do you have out now, and where can we find one?
MJ: Truly, I don’t have any records out right now. I have an EP that I recorded in 2004 and subsequently re-released in 2006 with some new songs on it that you can find on iTunes and CDBaby. But so much has gone on in my musical education and growth that I feel that collection of work no longer represents me as a songwriter. When I finish the album I’m currently recording I’ll probably go as far as removing that album from physical and digital shelves if only to give a better picture of my music.
FF: What’s next for you? Any touring or recording plans?
MJ: There’s always “what’s next” plans running through my head but I’m trying to really focus myself on the task of creating beautiful music and making the best record I possibly can. After I have that completed, I’m just as curious to find out what will happen.
Click below to hear Matt Jones version of “God is a Dancer” by Benjamin Del Schreve