Matthew Wilburn Skinner

Date: March 7, 2020

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: First Unitarian Church of Des Moines

Progressive Voices Concert 19-20

Sample Music Video: “Fusebox” –

Raised by wolves, taught by squirrels, friend of the owl- Matthew Wilburn Skinner sings songs of happiness and sorrow. As one-third of the band Tallgrass, he’s done his part to expand the possibilities of the banjo beyond a bluegrass instrument. “I used to just try and play really fast,” he admits. “Which was a challenge, but then I realized you can’t move the soul with that many notes, heh. Just the feet.” He still plays fast sometimes, “I can’t help it, haha, it’s fun,” but it seems to have moved beyond a sport for him somehow.

His Delta blues/jazz fingerstyle on the acoustic guitar is also crazy unique, with flourishes of virtuosity in between vocals that will break your heart before lovingly putting it back together again. Starting out in Iowa City more than 15 years ago, he honed his craft as a player and a sound engineer before moving with Tallgrass to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2013. He now plays in Tallgrass, does solo performances, and hand-builds banjos at Cloverlick Banjo Shop.

He released his solo album, Play for the King, in 2017. “Play for the King is an excellent folk album. For those looking for a well-crafted, full-bore folk album with soul, Skinner’s debut folk album is the pick of the litter,” says Bandwagon Magazine.

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