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Award winners headline Music City Texas Theatre Blues Night

By Charlotte Stewart cstewart@news-journal.com
Jan. 5, 2012 at 11 p.m.


It's hard to be blue when tested talents such as Jonathon "Boogie" Long and Matthew Davidson take the stage.

Linden's Music City Texas Theatre presents the pair as part of a prodigious package at Blues Night.

In 2011, Long won The Guitar Center "King of the Blues" finals in Hollywood to a sold-out crowd guitar competition for No. 1 Unsigned Blues Guitarist in America.

"It's been one awesome trip," said the 23-year-old singer/songwriter, who kept up with the interview despite awakening to the sound of a telephone rather than the alarm clock. "I know it's cliché, but it's been a wild ride."

The ride started when he got his first guitar as a kindergartener.

"It wasn't real good. My dad got me a real one when I was about 9, then I started taking lessons," he said.

A year or so later, Long said he got his first gig, when a friend and fellow musician Dixie Rose "snatched me up and started singing with her."

By the time he was 13 he was "jamming in clubs every Sunday. That was my real world, where I found myself."

Long would not say he had no regrets about his abrupt departure from high school at the young age of 14, but he did say "I'd do it all again. I mean, yeah, there are times I wish I had been able to sit through the next years, but, (the music) clicked. I knew touring was right for me, so I quit."

Although his parents initially did not support his decision, "They did support me," he said. "They stuck by me."

In 2011 Long tried out for, and eventually won, the title of "King of the Blues" on the reality show "The Guitar Center."

"The finals were held in Hollywood. Talk about a trip. It was wild, man, there ain't a better way to put it than just wild," he said. "What a rush, you know."

The attention, however, has not led to a deal with a label, which he admits is his heart's desire.

"But, it has brought a lot of attention, and a lot of gigs, like Music City. That's exciting, you know. I can't wait to see Music City and I can't wait for Texas to see me. It'll be a legend," he said.

Long and The Blues Revolution with bassist Zack Matchett and drummer Chad Solomon hail from Baton Rouge. Long has played on the Louisiana Legends Tour, at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and shared the stage with artists such as Dr. John, Big Luther Kent and Steve Howard of the Blues Brothers Band.

He said he is looking forward to seeing the 13-year-old prodigy Matthew Davidson.

"I've seen him on the Internet, so I've heard him, but I haven't seen him live, haven't experienced his music - cause you know that's what it is to be there live, experiencing it.

"And he's good. Really good. I love being on stage, but I really, really enjoy experiencing a true talent. So, that'll be cool," he said.

The eighth grader at Caddo Middle Magnet School in Shreveport was surprised to hear Long sing his praises.

"I'm really looking forward to his performance, too," Matthew said. "I'm a fan."

A month from his 14th birthday, Matthew admits he is "an upbeat guy who really hasn't had any grief or tragedy or heartbreak," but says singing the blues doesn't necessarily mean experiencing it. "It's a little bit of acting, you know, being a performer."

Like Long, Matthew started playing the guitar at about the age of 6.

"In 2010 I got serious and wanted to put together a band," he said. "We practice a lot because I love it ... My life is pretty much school, homework, practicing and gigs."

Matthew was recently surprised to learn that he won the 2011 Robert Johnson New Generation award, which is presented annually by the Robert Johnson Foundation to a talented young guitarist who helps to preserve blues music.

"I didn't know my mom had entered me," he said sheepishly.

Ella Davidson said she and her husband Alan try to instill in Matthew and his twin sister Sarah a sense of gratitude for their talents.

"His faith reminds him that it all comes from God," she wrote in an email.

Matthew is the bandleader for the church's youth band.

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