For the king of classic folk-rock drumming, England's loss is Boston's gain.
This year marks the thirteenth anniversary of legendary British session ace Dave Mattacks' decision to migrate from England to New England. "I've always loved New England, Boston in particular," says Mattacks, who has recorded with a remarkable cross-section of the most important artists of British folk and rock, including Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, George Harrison, Cat Stevens, and Jimmy Page.
At first, you might wonder why Mattacks chose Boston over larger music cities like New York City and Los Angeles. "The singer-songwriter thing here definitely contributes to its appeal for me," he explains. There's a wonderful diversity of music, musicians, and recording facilities around here."
Mattacks performs on around six albums per year while teaching at home and at Berklee College of Music, conducting clinics, and producing. A few years back he toured with the country artist Rosanne Cash throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia for eighteen months. And last summer Dave reunited with his old mates in Fairport Convention to celebrate the legendary band's forty-fifth anniversary at its annual Cropredy Festival, double drumming with fellow vet Gerry Conway.
Mattacks' current project, Feast of Fiddles, is a twelve-piece band comprising six rhythm-section members and six electric fiddle players. The band, whose 2013 tour marked its twentieth anniversary, recently released the album Rise Above It. The multifaceted Mattacks not only produced the album but played drums, percussion, and keyboards, all of which he tracked in Boston, while the rest of the band recorded in the U.K.
As a contributor to some of the most popular-and most timeless-music to emanate from England during the golden era of classic rock, Mattacks is in an interesting position to comment on the current state of mainstream music. The entertainment/look-at-me/quick-fix aspect seems to be heightened," he says. "But there's cool stuff on the edge of the radar. The only thing that disappoints me is that there seems to be a new generation of listeners who expect recorded music for free or want to cherry-pick it. But I just try to keep my head down and do my best, whatever the situation."
And what does the future hold for Mattacks? The ever-humble drummer's reply is as succinctly profound as his inimitable playing style: "Produce more and improve my grooves!"
"Pistol" Pete Kaufmann
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