Nashville, Tennessee native and 3-time Grammy nominated guitarist Matt Barrett started playing the guitar in his junior year of High School. One of his closest childhood friends, Tyler, used to play guitar at his house when he was younger, peaking Matt’s interest in the instrument. Matt’s younger brother, and music partner, had a guitar that was never played so Matt decided to pick it up and learn. The first song he ever learned on the guitar was “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, a true classic. Other influences came from the Beatles albums, Jimmi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, and Stephane Grappelli. He became addicted to playing by the day and was fixated on becoming the best he could be. His hard work and dedication payed off as he now plays the acoustic, electric, and bass guitars; as well as the ukulele, lap steel, and banjo.
Matt comes from a long line of inspiring musical stars. Matt’s grandfather, Perry Harris, was a huge fan of country music, bluegrass, and fiddle music styles. He was the originator of the Grand Masters Fiddling Championship in Nashville, TN as a form to educate and preserve fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure. His grandfather frequented backstage at the Grand Ole Opry with friends and musical icons, Roy Acuff, Porter Wagner, Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, Waylon Jennings, and Vince Gill. Matt’s uncle, Larry McNeely, is a renowned banjo master as well and notably a regular on the Glenn Campbell show. He chooses to stay modest and humble in his craft away from the spotlight. He is one of the few to bring to light fiddle style on the banjo. McNeely also plays guitar and slide guitar in addition to the banjo. Matt’s brother, Chris Morgan, is one of the most talented musical composers, piano players, and DJ’s in his age group, recently being honored with placement on Meek Mill’s new album, “Dreams and Nightmares” under The Building Records. He has also worked with stars like Rick Ross, Wale, and Trey Songz. Rick Ross has personally stated that he really enjoys the sound Chris produces with his piano leads.
Outside of his family, Matt admires Australian jazz-fusion guitarist Frank Gambale. Matt normally rocks a long spiked Mohawk during his performances, which may be inspired by Frank’s spiked mullet he rocked in the 1980’s. Frank has showcased virtuosic mechanics and deep overall musicality which is also very inspiring to Matt. He has also had the honor to learn from other famous musicians like Larry McNeely, John Petrucci, Frank Gambali, Dave Matthews, and Eric Clapton.
When asked what Matt’s biggest music moment is, he would tell you that being nominated for 3 Grammy’s in 2012 at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards was one of the most emotional and proud moments of his life. He played guitar on Lupe Fiasco’s hit single “The Show Goes On,” which led to being nominated for best rap performance, best rap song, and best rap album. His next personal goal is to hopefully work with the acclaimed American rock group, Incubus. His standards and work ethics are second to none. Near being a perfectionist, he strives to be the best musician he can be.
Matt has performed on national tours as well including Yelawolf. Many of us always wonder what it’s like to tour, and most importantly, what happens when or if you make a mistake. Matt’s best advice is to just laugh it off and keep going, the audience will most likely not even notice. You can never be too hard on yourself if you want to grow as a musician. His advice for those just breaking into their career or skill is to just take it slow. Don’t focus on how fast you can come out with a hit song or record, it’s all about the writing in your songs. Sometimes being simpler is key. A good recording session is when you pour your heart and soul into the music, the end result gives listeners a better experience.
Matt has enjoyed working with Velodyne because of their attention to detail in technology and sound. He has recently been working in the studio with the 18” Digital Drive Plus and has noted that it is the “best sounding subwoofer he has ever heard and there is nothing else like it out there.” He recently toured to IFA in Berlin to support the launch of their new headphone line, and will be performing on their behalf at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV.
Follow him on Twitter: @BarrettGuitarz