Thro’ My Eyes: A Memoir by Iain Matthews with Ian Clayton
Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of the memoir of legendary singer-songwriter Iain Matthews. Thro’ My Eyes: A Memoir tells the story of over fifty years of making music.
It’s the swinging sixties and a young man leaves behind a humdrum Northern life and heads for Swinging London. He lands smack dab in the middle of Carnaby Street. Within months he is in a band and a year later he’s invited to audition for Fairport Convention. He shares lead vocal duties first with Judy Dyble and then with Sandy Denny in perhaps the greatest line-up of that much loved band of folk-rock pioneers.
In 1970, he forms Matthews Southern Comfort and has an international hit with an arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s counter-culture classic ‘Woodstock’. With the ultimate earworm still high in the charts, Iain walks out on the band and after just a few months of reflection, releases the classic album If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes. Then with Andy Roberts, he puts together the highly revered Plainsong. They make just one LP, the critically acclaimed In Search of Amelia Earhart. Iain then takes the opportunity to move to California to pursue an interest in the emerging West Coast singer-songwriter movement. He criss-crosses the States for the next thirty years, first as a major label artist, initially with Elektra and then Columbia, and eventually as a latter day troubadour with a guitar and a pickup truck.
Back in Europe since the turn of the millennium, Iain finally settles down with a wife and family but continues to pursue the muse. Still possessed of one of the greatest male singing voices Britain ever produced, Matthews is now in his sixth decade as a professional musician. He has written a compelling memoir of a life on the road, in the studio and at home. It’s a story of music, journeys, life and what it does to us, through the eyes of one of our most enduring singer-songwriters.
Route editor Ian Daley said of the acquisition, ‘We touched on Iain’s early career in Clinton Heylin’s biography of the Fairport Convention diaspora What We Did Instead of Holidays, so it’s a real privilege to work with the man himself on this great book. His dedication to music and his determination to keep learning and moving forward is an inspiration. It’s been an enlightening experience, and a joy to immerse ourselves in his tremendous body of work.’
Iain Matthews: ‘Through a series of false starts this book has taken me more than ten years to write. I was finally able to bring it home with the invaluable help of my dear friend Ian Clayton. I simply could not have done it without him. Writing a song is something I’ve become quite adept at, but a book is a whole other matter. There were times when I felt I could not summon forth the memories and it was not going to happen, but miraculously it did. Now that it has I feel both exhilarated and proud that my life lesson has been captured in print. It’s an amazing feeling to know.’
Ian Clayton: ‘Iain’s book tells a very real story of a young man from humble beginnings who pursued a dream through music, went through plenty of ups and downs and finally found his peace. I have read a lot of books by musicians, most of ‘em are flimsy, this one has depth and authenticity, it will stand on its own feet for a long time to come.’
Iain Matthews first gained public attention in 1967 as a founding member and vocalist for the innovative music group Fairport Convention. In 1970 he created his own band Matthews Southern Comfort and had a worldwide hit with Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’. During the 1980s Matthews turned his attention to the business of music as an A&R person for both Island and Windham Hill Records, but was encouraged by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin to rekindle his creative flame. In 2000, Matthews moved to the Netherlands where he currently lives and works.
Ian Clayton is an author, broadcaster and storyteller from Featherstone, West Yorkshire. His stories are about making sense of where we come from. His books include Bringing It All Back Home, a bestselling book about music; Song For My Father about his lifelong search for a father figure; Our Billie about loss; and most recently It’s The Beer Talking about a life in public houses and ale.
Thro’ My Eyes: A Memoir by Iain Matthews with Ian Clayton will be unveiled at Cropredy Festival in August this year, with advance editions made available from www.route-online.com thereafter, including a Deluxe edition which comes complete with a double CD of Iain’s songs. The book will have a trade release in Autumn 2018.
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