While & Matthews
They are two of my favorite singer songwriters in the whole wide world.Beth Nielsen Chapman
Chris While (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Bodhran and Percussion) & Julie Matthews (Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Mandolin and Bouzouki) are breathtaking singers, songwriters, musicians and performers whose energy and commitment to their craft and their audience is boundless. They have been hailed the best and most hard working acoustic duo on the folk roots scene.
If these women had been born in California, they would be world famous by now.Ashley Hutchings
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 waste lands 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.
I have become one of their biggest fans as a result of listening to their superb output. They are what I most admire, intelligent and musical with attitude.Barbara Dickson
They have been nominatated eight times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk music awards in the 'Best Song, Best Duo, Best Live Act' categories.
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: an extraordinarily talented band of musicians. 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.
These women far outclass their many famous American cousins, and prove just how immediate and powerful well-written and performed music can still be. Awe- inspiring.Dirty Linen
Chris and Julie already have nine duo albums and a songbook to their credit as well as six solo albums between them. A Blue Tapestry album and five St Agnes Fountain CDs. They also appear as the leading songwriters and singers on several Albion Band albums during their time in the band (1990 to 1997) and on the much acclaimed Daphne's Flight, a project which also included Christine Collister, Helen Watson and Melanie Harrold.
A little bit of blues, a small touch of country and quite a lot of folk, you wonder what all the fuss is about over Shawn Colvin, Lisa Loeb and the rest.Mojo
Chris and Julie also write and perform music for Television and Radio, notably 'Tales from the Towpath' (BBC Radio 2), 'The Ridgeriders' (Meridian TV) and The new Radio 2 Radio Ballads for which Julie wrote eleven of the songs and Chris performed several of them.
(Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Mandolin and Bouzouki)
Julie Matthews is recognised 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, Kellie While, Mary Duff and Mary Black (Thorn upon the rose was a top 10 hit in both Ireland and Japan!) to name but a few.
Described by Folk Roots as "awesomely talented", she's a dynamic performer and a multi instrumentalist. In 1994 she opened for Mary Chapin Carpenter at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. From 1990 to 1997 Julie was a leading member of the legendary Albion Band, her songs becoming an intrinsic part of the bands repertoire. The last couple of years have seen Julie producing albums as well as recording many, notably, Helen Watson's Somersault and Lifesize and Kellie While's Tenacious.
Awesomely talented.Folk Roots
Julie has two major albums of her own 'Lies and Alibis' with Pat Shaw and her debut solo album 'Such is life'. In June 2005 Julie wrote and produced the new Album 'Slow' her best solo work to date. She subsequently toured with her trio in the summer of 2005. In 2006 Julie's songs were an important input to the acclaimed 'Radio 2 New Radio Ballads' when she contributed eleven brilliant songs.
(Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Bodhran and Percussion)
People will try to compare Chris While's voice to others but as Folk Roots wrote of her, "She learns from many, takes from few and comes away her own woman". She is described as a singer's singer and a great guitarist and although her songs have been covered by many other artists, she is the definitive interpreter of her own extremely personal songs.
Chris While is the best singer in the UK.Barbara Dickson
In 1993 she joined The Albion Band as lead singer and the following years brought her voice and songs to a much wider audience both in the U.K. and on the international arena.
She rises like an angel from the ashes with a voice to match.The Guardian
Chris has three solo albums, Look at me now (1993), the beautiful In the Big Room 1997 and her latest Rosella Red 2007. Chris's early acoustic tapes Still on fire / By Request were re-mastered and put onto CD format but they are sadly no longer available. In 1999, at the first BBC Radio 2's prestigious Folk Music Awards, Chris's song 'The Light in my Mothers Eye' was nominated in the best song category.
1997 saw Chris and Julie depart the Albion Band .The move came about as a result of the escalation and increasing success of the duo on the international stage. Chris and Julie's duo career had begun in 1995 when they toured Canada as The Women of Albion, initially as a one off project, but the impact was so great on both the audience and themselves that the act became established. Since then they have toured solidly as a duo throughout the UK, Europe, Africa, North America and - Australia where they have been thoroughly adopted and are held in the highest esteem, packing out concert halls and festival stages.
1996 saw the start of several amazing projects involving Chris and Julie. First came 'Daphne's Flight', an all female super group featuring Chris, Julie, Christine Collister, Helen Watson and Melanie Harrold. As one can imagine: staggering. Chris and Julie's song writing partnership is now well established with a string of covers under their belts; Barbara Dickson, Christine Collister and Frances Black to name a few and they are frequently commissioned to write for various radio and television projects.
To launch their full time duo career the long awaited Piecework was released in early 1998, followed by Higher Potential in October '99. The much anticipated double live album Stages was released in Autumn 2000, followed closely in 2001 by their highly acclaimed new studio album Quest produced by Kwame Yeboah of e2K, Miss Dynamite and Craig David's band.
Ever eager to broaden their musical horizons, Chris and Julie joined forces with Chris Leslie and David Hughes in December 2001 to form the Christmas project St Agnes Fountain, releasing an album of the same title to great critical acclaim. The following years have seen more tours and further album releases.
2002 saw the birth of Blue Tapestry. Chris and Julie with Maartin Allcock, Pete Zorn and Neil Marshall. The show features the music of Carole King and Joni Mitchell: Chris and Julie's two main influences. The live shows were electrifying and their finest hour came in 2004 at Cropredy festival where they sang their way into the hearts of 20,000 people with these most precious songs. Chris sings the Joni stuff and Julie Carole's. As you can imagine the live album is fantastic!
Finally a Songbook has been released including 29 of their most loved songs.
While and Matthews now have an annual festival 'Party on the Lawn' which takes place at: Prebendal Farm, Bishopstone, Wiltshire every June.
They have been nominated no fewer than eight times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Chris and Julie, along with fellow Daphne's Flight member and close friend Helen Watson, also tour the country with their womans vocal workshop Rejoice the Voice bringing a voice to many women desperate to sing.