Live & Local with The Matt Brantley Band
Catch The Matt Brantley Band November 25, 10pm @ Billy’s Clubhouse
The Matt Brantley Band is a reminder of the boisterous charm and rowdiness that Southern rock and country music can often encapsulate. With songs like “Laid Back” that celebrate a day off with a drive down a dirt road with Hank Williams on the speakers and whiskey in tow, these guys show a love for their roots and an appreciation for the simplicities in life.
Singer and guitarist, Matt Brantley, is backed by Rowdy Hood (guitar), Jesse Perkins (bass), and Brayden Long (drums). Brantley talked with me about becoming a singer, winning Male Artist of the Year, and fishing with his son.
Was this solely your vision to play country/Southern rock music or was it a joint effort?
Each one of us likes different things at the same time but we all like what we [play] as well. Brayden likes a lot of heavier, old metal stuff, which I like some of that stuff too, older heavy metal rock n roll. Rowdy’s a bluegrass guy. But we can all appreciate it and it comes together. And we’re all just old country boys. I mean that’s all we’ve ever been. So it just worked out that country music’s just what we do best. Southern rock and roll. I mean that’s what I grew up listening to with my dad and riding around with him in the car.
Did you grow up playing music as a kid?
I started in middle school. I actually started playing drums. I never really played any music and it looked like fun so I figured I’d give it a shot. And I enjoyed it. I played drums all the way through high school. Early in high school I picked up the guitar when I was about 15. I never really did a lot of singing. I never really thought anybody wanted to listen to me sing, you know. I got dared to try out for Milledgeville Idol in 2012. And I tried out for it and they picked me to be in the competition and then I won second place and I was like, good grief this is pretty wild. All I’d ever really done is sat around with friends playing on the porch picking songs that we liked. We’d all sit around, have a few cold ones, and play some music. That was the extent of my musical career I thought I’d ever be doing. That’s all I’d like to do and that’s what I thought I’d be doing. I’ve done a lot more than I ever thought I would.
You won 2016’s Georgia Country Awards Male Artist of the Year. Tell me about it.
That’s a process. You’ve got to through a voting stage. You have to spread the word and get people to go to their website and actually click on your name and vote. And then they tally all that up and combine it with some judges and get a score. I definitely didn’t expect to win. There were some really good guys. I was just happy to be a part of it. I got to go up to The Crazy Bull and play up there and they called my name. It was pretty wild. I didn’t expect that [laughs].
Are you guys working on an album?
We actually have the material. We just have to get in there and do the recording. It’s got a couple of tunes on it that are leaning more towards Southern rock with a little twang in there. And then we’ve got some slow ballad style songs. I grew up a country boy. I grew up fishing with my daddy and I’ve been taking my little boy fishing. I wrote a song called “Fishing With Daddy” and it’s not so much about fishing but about teaching them things and teaching them about life. Also, my brother, which my brother has never written a song in his life, wrote part of [a song] with me. I was like, you write a song. Just put some words together and I’ll put a melody to it. And he actually sent me some lyrics and I turned it into a song. It worked out really good.
Aside from being a local artist yourself, why do you think it’s important to support local music in such a mainstream music world?
Everybody that is in the mainstream at one time was a local artist. If they didn’t have the support from their community they wouldn’t have made it to where they are now. I just feel like if you can’t get support for your local people then you’ll never really see them go anywhere. They just kind of give up I guess. We’re not giving up because we have people that support us and want to see us go to the next level.