As we approach Independence Day, the most American of American holidays, it's time to pay tribute to one of America's best. And by best, I mean, one of our best guitarists, best musicians, best teachers, and best guys. Matt Lyons is just that.
I met Matt at the Costa's Christmas party (or at least the in-the-garage version of the Costa's Christmas party) back in 2011. I learned that the red-haired and red-bearded guy taught guitar, and I thought maybe it was time for me to learn how to play. So, after pondering this for over a year, I finally reached out to Matt in early 2013. And the rest is history. Okay, maybe not well known history, but history nonetheless.
My initial goal was to learn enough basic open chords so that I could play one song (just one) by the time middle daughter Emily's wedding rolled around in September of that year. And, with Matt's guidance (and patience!), I did. I wasn't very good, but I did play a song or two at the campfire that followed Emily's wedding reception. And I've been working with (and playing with!) Matt ever since. His never-ending encouragement, along with his fabulous lead guitar work, have been the foundation for the albums that I've since made. And I am eternally grateful.
But the point here is that Matt is an amazing musician who has not yet gotten the break that he needs - - and deserves. He's the frontman for his group, The Parameters, and he also leads a side project with a group appropriately called The Side Band. It may be, though, that ultimately being a solo singer-songwriter (you know, kinda like Amos Lee and John Prine and Matt's hero, Bob Dylan) will be Matt's path to greater performing success.
Make no mistake, Matt is already successful in the music business. He has a thriving guitar-teaching business (if you are pondering learning how to play, you should reach out to see if Matt can fit you into his schedule), and is one of the lucky few who actually makes a living in music. But he's also a great performer and a terrific singer-songwriter.
Among my favorite Matt Lyons songs is When Will I See You Again. It first appeared on the Parameters album called Thick As Thieves. But it's also been played live by The Side Band. So, to honor Matt today, let's first see The Side Band's performance of When Will I See You Again at the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concerts a couple of weeks ago (and, yes, that is me sitting in with The Side Band, playing a little bit of harmonica). And then let's listen to The Parameters original recording of When Will I See You Again from Thick As Thieves.
Matt! You're the best!