Mike Mattison

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Mike Mattison
Mattison fronting Scrapomatic, opening for the Tedeschi Trucks Band
Mattison fronting Scrapomatic, opening for the Tedeschi Trucks Band
Background information
BornDecember 14, 1969
OriginMinneapolis, Minnesota
GenresBlues, blues rock, soul, world music, R&B, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano, clarinet, tenor saxophone, french horn, trombone, upright bass
LabelsColumbia, Alligator, Landslide Records

Mike Mattison is an American musician and vocalist[1] of the Grammy Award-winning blues rock/soul group, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, as well as lead vocalist and co-founder of the blues rock trio Scrapomatic. Mattison's vocal sound has been described as "strong," with an "expressive blues voice".[2] As lead vocalist of Scrapomatic, he picked up a nomination for Minnesota Music Awards best male vocalist, and both he and co-founder Paul Olsen were also nominated for best R&B Group.[3] Mattison was previously the lead vocalist of the Grammy Award-winning Derek Trucks Band and has been a main songwriter of all three bands. He is also an active essayist who publishes on music and poetry. Since 2013 Mattison and Ernest Suarez have edited “Hot Rocks: Songs and Verse,” an ongoing feature in Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art.[4] He serves on the Council of the Association of Literary Critics, Scholars, and Writers.[5]


Mattison was born and grew to adulthood in Minneapolis, Minnesota,[3][6] during a period where he was encouraged to learn and experiment with a variety of musical instruments, which appealed to him. Before graduation from high school, he'd learned, with differing levels of accomplishment, to play the recorder, clarinet, tenor saxophone, french horn, trombone, bass, and guitar, in addition to his natural ability to sing. He was influenced by jazz, the blues, and roots music. Mattison began exploring songwriting and performing with a friend who had also been raised in Minneapolis, Paul Olsen. The pair met in 1993 at a Parliament-Funkadelic concert, and began playing R&B and blues-based music together afterward.[7] Mattison's acceptance and subsequent college education at Harvard brought him east, and he convinced Olsen to move with him.

Mattison graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and American literature. Mattison and Olsen continued playing and performing together, forming the duo they named Scrapomatic. In 2002, Craig Street and John Snyder, the two record producers that had business ties with blues rock musician Derek Trucks independently suggested Mattison as the person to fill the newly vacated position of lead vocalist for The Derek Trucks Band.[8] Trucks, who was in New York City on business, had begun looking at the information and photos supplied of Mattison, and having seen Mattison's photos and demos singing, was surprised to find he was in the same subway car. After Trucks recognized him and introduced himself, Mattison performed in several concerts following the unusual meeting with The Derek Trucks Band, and shortly afterward, landed the position, where he has remained since his entry into the band. He continues to maintain his position in Scrapomatic, with the duo frequently opening for The Derek Trucks Band.

Mike Mattison's voice has been considered a "perfect fit" for The Derek Trucks Band. After listening to the band play the arrangement of "I Wish I Knew" in the style of Nina Simone, an NPR host mentioned a "growly" quality to Mattison's voice, which Trucks was able to closely duplicate on the slide guitar. The next song had a completely different sound altogether, a rendition of a song by Skip James, where Mattison sang in a falsetto.[9] His wide range appealed to Trucks, who was looking for a lead vocalist that was not the usual fare. Within The Derek Trucks Band, Mattison's voice has been described as an instrument, rather than that of a focal point as frontman.[10]

In 2010, The Derek Trucks Band announced a hiatus, and Mike Mattison joined the new group, Tedeschi Trucks Band, as a backing vocalist and songwriter. One of his compositions, "Midnight in Harlem," appears on the DVD release of Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010.

On July 17, 2013, Mike Mattison launched a Kickstarter Project,[11] called "untitled-not-so-secret-mike-Mattison-solo-album" which successfully raised its funding goal on August 17, 2013. The project will be used to finish recording, mixing and mastering of his new album, which was expected to arrive around October 2013.

Mike Mattison released his solo CD "You Can't Fight Love" on Landslide Records (LDCD-1042) with a street date of June 3, 2014. In addition to recording and touring with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Scrapomatic, Mattison and Ernest Suarez have held seminars on a literary genre they call Poetic Song Verse at various universities since 2016. Their book, Poetic Song Verse: Blues-based Popular Music and Poetry, will be published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2021.[12]


With Scrapomatic[edit]

  • 2002 – Scrapomatic
  • 2006 – Alligator Love Cry Alligator Records
  • 2008 – Sidewalk Caesars Landslide Records

With The Derek Trucks Band[edit]

With Tedeschi Trucks Band[edit]


  • You Can't Fight Love Landslide Records (2014)
  • Afterglow (Landslide Records, 2020)

Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ Halsey, Derek (1998–2009). "Mike Mattison: The Gritz Interview". Gritz interview. Swampland Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Conrad, Thomas (1989–2010). "TD Toronto Jazz Festival". Tanglewood Jazz Festival. Jazz Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Scrapomatic Biography". last.fm. CBS Interactive Music Group. November 21, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "Five Points, Vol. 15 No. 3 - Five Points - A Journal of Literature and Art". Fivepoints.gsu.edu. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  5. ^ "Council". Alscw.org. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Fothergill, Jules (May 24, 2006). "Mike Mattison (singer with the DTB) Interview". Northsyde. Funkydory. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Suarez, Ernest (January 8, 2010). "Scrapomatic band fuses blues, pop into an eclectic sound on 'Sidewalk Caesars'". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "The Derek Trucks Band in Concert". The World Cafe Live: NPR. NPR (National Public Radio). 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "Six-String Creation: The Derek Trucks Band". NPR Music Studio Stations. npr 2010. March 25, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  10. ^ Newman, Jared (1998–2010). "DEREK TRUCKS BAND SLIDES INTO NYC". JamBase Inc. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  11. ^ "(Untitled, Not-So-Secret) Mike Mattison Solo Album". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "Ernest Suarez, Ph.D." English.catholic.edu. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  13. ^ "TTB's Fourth Studio Album SIGNS Is Available Now". Tedeschitrucjband.com. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Torres, Richard (August 1, 2008). "Soul Summit; Here is the bland soul-karaoke record you did not request". The Village Voice. p. 1. Retrieved August 27, 2010.