Alt.folk from Aldershot with Elliott Smith influences.
A British folk-rock group whose music walks a line between acoustic traditionalism and a contemporary embrace of electronics, Matthew and the Atlas were founded by singer and songwriter Matt Hegarty. Hailing from Aldershot in the Rushmoor district of Hampshire, England, Hegarty taught himself to play guitar when he was 15 years old, and he soon joined a band that specialized in heavy alternative rock such as System of a Down and Smashing Pumpkins. Hegarty was writing songs from the start, but began taking the process more seriously when he discovered the work of singer/songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, and Jeff Buckley, as well as contemporary acts such as Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens. Moving in a more folk-oriented direction, Hegarty picked up the acoustic guitar and the banjo and started playing solo acoustic gigs. While playing a show in Woking, he got to know the musicians who booked the show, pianist Lindsay West and multi-instrumentalist Dave Millar, and with them, he formed the first lineup of Matthew and the Atlas. The group's often shifting lineup became regulars at London's Notting Hill Arts Club, and they were recognized as part of the new folk movement in the U.K.
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