Matt Minglewood in Calgary

Wearing 10,000 miles of road rash, the Gibson 335 guitar waited on the stage for the embrace of it’s master. In the hands of Matt Minglewood this long time companion of a guitar laughed ,cried and screamed at the sky. The connection between the bluesman and his guitar and almost by default his audience, was the story this evening at the Calgary International Blues Festival

There is no other music played on the guitar as personally expressive as the blues. At the touch of a master, the instrument is in direct contact to the soul. The soul of Mr. Minglewood was loud and clear throughout this impassioned set, his gravely voice inviting us along for the ride. The songs that were played don’t really matter, though I could list them. What matters is the power of the music and the ability of Minglewood and his crack band: Moon McInnis (drums), Grant Leslie (bass) and the astounding Mike Little (Hammond B3) to move the rather thin early evening crowd to its feet after the first bar. Shuffling and swinging like nobody’s business, the four on the floor foundation was firmly laid by McInnis and Leslie while Little wove his magical B3 work throughout. This is the blues as it should be heard. Wrenched from the heart and shot from the hip.

Friday August 2 | Calgary International Blues Festival | Shaw Millenium Park
Photography by: Charles Hope

Matt Minglewood has a long musical history in Canada. A fact confirmed by his exclamation : I’m so old I have music on 8-Track!” Hailing from Nova Scotia and a musical family, Minglewood is a natural born musician. Learning to play the fiddle before he could read, he gravitated toward blues and rock n’ roll as a teen when he fell head over heels for the guitar. It is not difficult to hear the influences of artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Hank Williams etc. but Minglewood infuses his blues sense with the country and Celtic element that is in his bones. He began performing even as a child and by the mid 60’s was in the band scene. The eventual release of his first album “The Red Album” in 1976, put him firmly on the map. Many albums, 3 gold records and 50 years of world circling road work later, at 66 years, Minglewood is still a blues warrior.

A great story teller, Minglewood described to his audience how his trusted Gibson (and it’s incredible tone) was bought in 1970 for $300 and how it had suffered being run over by a bus at least twice. This would strongly imply that both guitar and master are perfect partners. Both have stories to tell and both were probably drunk at the time.

For all music fans with a taste for the blues, to witness this band is a feather in the cap. You will be uplifted. Guaranteed.

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