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Described by Folk Roots as "awesomely talented" Julie Matthews is a dynamic performer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist. (Piano, Guitar, Bazouki, Mandolin, Piano acordion, harmonica)

Born in Sheffield, England, she left school at 18 and began writing songs for a small London publishing company. The contract lasted only a few months before the company went bankrupt and forced Julie to "go out and learn her trade properly", as she put it. So she began singing in pubs, wine bars and then piano bars around the world, honing her performing skills by night and her writing skills during the day. Throughout this time, Julie worked in a duo with Pat Shaw and in 1993 they released their debut album 'Lies and Alibi's'. It was the first collection of Matthews' songs on CD and received critical acclaim; this led to them opening for Mary Chapin Carpenter at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Sadly this was one of their last performances together as shortly afterwards the duo split.

In 1990 she was asked to join the legendary Albion Band. Matthews agreed and over the following seven years she became a leading member of several of their line-ups, her songs becoming an intrinsic part of the bands repertoire.

It was during this time that Julie joined forces with Singer/Songwriter and fellow Albion Band member Chris While and in 1997 they left the band to pursue their duo career. Their partnership has gone from strength to strength, releasing seven major albums together and touring each year throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia.
Though internationally acclaimed, they continue to be a leading force on the UK's acoustic/roots arts circuit. Their songs cover life as they see it, from the industrial wastelands of the north, to injustice and freedom, matters of the heart and everything in between.  
Their songs are covered by many revered singers the world over but it is While & Matthews' musical partnership and obvious joy of performing together that really brings their songs to life. As performers they are unrivalled and their audiences leave their concerts having been through every emotion possible.
Almost every year since the awards began, they have been nominated in one or two categories in the BBC Radio 2 Folk music awards. 'Best Song' 'Best Duo' 'Best Live Act'. In 2009 they were presented with the 'Best duo' award and received a standing ovation at the ceremony by a room full of their peers.
Visit the While & Matthews website here

In 1997 'Daphne's Flight' was created with Julie joining Chris While, Helen Watson, Christine Collister and Melanie Harrold. Together they released an album of the same name and completed a sell-out tour of the UK.
While and Matthews are also the founding members of Blue Tapestry, celebrating the music of Carole King and Joni Mitchell with Maartin Allcock, Pete Zorn and Neil Marshall.
They also team up with Chris Leslie and David Hughes each December to become St Agnes Fountain, giving Christmas Carols a breath of fresh air and a new groove.

The beginning of 2006 saw Julie involved with the historic new BBC Radio 2 series ‘Radio Ballads’, writing 11 of the songs and covering 4 of the programs for the critically acclaimed shows. In 2007, Julie embarked on a solo tour that featured these songs , interspersing the live performances with recordings of the original testimonies the songs were written around. The project was revisited in 2010 when the BBC commisioned a new radio ballad to mark the 25th anniversary of the miners strike so once again, Julie became involved, writing and performing a new song.

 

2010 also saw Julie taking on another challenging but incredibly rewarding project. Under the initiation and direction of Brampton Live Festival 2010 Julie was invited to be one of five songwriters and two poets in "All Along The Wall" based on the experiences of life around Hadrian’s Wall both ancient and modern. The seven artists (Matthews, Rory McLeod, Boo Hewerdine, Jez Lowe, Ruth Notman, Kate Fox, Elvis McGonnagall) lived together in a 'song house' for five days nearby to the wall where they wrote a 75 minute show of brand new material, including four songs by Matthews. On the sixth day, the show was then performed to great critical acclaim in front of a live audience at The Wave Centre, Maryport. The performance was recorded by Fellside Recordings to be subsequently released as an album. The piece will be performed again at Brampton Live Festival in July 2010 and for a third time towards the end of the year at The Sage, Gateshead.

Matthews is recognized as one of the most talented songwriters to have come out of the British Isles. She has been compared to Richard Thompson and Mary Chapin Carpenter, but Julie's powerful style puts her in a class of her own.
Her songs have been covered by: Fairport Convention, Mary Black (‘Thorn upon the rose’ was a top 10 hit in both Ireland and Japan!) Barbara Dickson and Frances Black, to name but a few.
In recent years Julie has produced albums for other artists, notably Helen Watson's 'Somersault' and 'Lifesize' and Kellie While's 'Tenacious'.

As well as the albums made with the various collaboration mentioned above, Julie has released two solo CDs to date; 'Such is Life' and 'Slow'.
To buy these or any of the While and Matthews catalogue visit the secure online shop.