Matt Downs of Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders

As a digital creator, I (Anthony Crosby) am not immune to targeted social media ads. The types of advertisements that are normally directed at me promise that a particular book or e-course will give me the tools to unlock the secrets of gaining hundreds of thousands of followers overnight! I, of course, never fall for these click baits. One, these promoters usually never have the number of followers on their own pages that they promise for me. Two, I’m a big believer that for many things in life, especially creative endeavors, there is no one way to succeed. If you’re an engineer building a massive suspension bridge, then yes, please, follow the formula! However, when it comes to creating and sharing something out of your passions, imagination, and heart, there are often many paths to victory! This reality is proven by the conversation I had with this week’s guest. Let me introduce him. 

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This time around, we’re joined by Mr. Matt Downs! Matt is the guitar player and front man for the local band, Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders. The group is rounded out by Trevor Lloyd (bass player) and Tim Western (drummer). 

Matt and the boys have been very active over the last few years, bringing a unique sound and perspective to the venues they have played. Although they’ve had to stick to a lot of live-streamed shows lately, thanks to Covid-19, this has still not stopped them from putting together something great. That’s right, in the next couple of months, Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders will be dropping a brand-new album called, Tale of a Miner’s Life! I had the opportunity to listen to the album early, and the hype I’m giving it is real! The band has put together something special with this one. However, let’s get into my conversation with Matt so that we can hear more about the group and album from the man himself!

Thank you for joining us this week, Matt! Now, I alluded in the introduction of this blog that your road to be a front man for a band was anything but conventional. Can you please share a bit of your story and explain what I meant by that?

“I’ve been really blessed—Growing up, I could do just about anything I set my mind to. However, playing guitar was not one of those things! 

“I took two years of guitar in high school. I learned everything about the guitar except how to play songs! I could not play one single song; I was terrible. Every couple of years, I’d pull out my guitar and try again. I would try, get frustrated, and put it back in the box. In 2009, we had to get the internet in our house for our kids’ schooling. I ended up finding YouTube, where I saw a video of a three-stringed guitar made out of a cardboard box. Now that, I knew I could do! The next day, I made one, and it’s still hanging up in one of my family members’ houses. I kept fooling around with it and started building guitars out of cigar boxes. I thought they were super cool, but I still couldn’t play them. As I made them, people started buying them, so I figured I’d better learn how to play. I started learning how to play before moving out here to Elko. I began hanging out with and getting to know people here locally. I was in a band with a couple of folks and started playing a six-stringed guitar—everything evolved from there. 

“I was the front man for that first band before leaving that group and starting Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders back in 2016. Throughout that entire time, I was still learning how to play my instrument! I had never been in bands or anything before this. I was thirty when I first started learning how to play guitar! It’s been fun!

“I come at music from a different perspective. I can’t play what other people play. I don’t play like anybody else. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad. When I get with seasoned musicians who want to play, I can be way out of my element. But I’m very good at playing my stuff. So, I started writing songs because it’s easier for me to play, and nobody can tell me I did it wrong! There are no outside expectations when I play my music. I’m never going to play like Johnny Cash, so if I just play my thing, my way, I don’t have those barriers.”

That’s an inspiring story! Do you feel like growing your skills in Elko helped play a part in your success? 

“I don’t think I would have grown as a musician like I have if I was outside of Elko. I had the chance to play with some entertaining musicians when I was terrible! I was able to cut my teeth and learn with some people who were a little more lenient than other places. I don’t think I would have had the opportunities I’ve had if I would have played in bigger cities. I think I would have drowned. The musicians here have much more of a community feel. The music scene in Elko has grown a lot over the last few years, and hopefully, I can continue to be a part of that.”

Now, let’s talk about the band itself! Can you tell us a little bit more about who you are as a group?

“We’re a roots-rock band. Nobody really knows what that means, and neither do we! When I left my first project, I wanted to do something different. I thought about maybe even doing something solo. Things just developed, and people came and went, but the core of the group is me, Trevor, and Tim. I try to give everyone in the band a chance to shine. The band is a hobby for us, but it’s also a good time! Our music is simple. People try not to offend us when they tell us that it is, but that doesn’t offend me at all! That’s great! That’s where I am as a musician, and our albums are a snapshot of where we are as a band. We make a lot of noise for just three guys!”

Speaking of your albums, let’s get into the details of your up-and-coming project, Tale of a Miner’s Life. What do we need to know about this album?

“At the end of the day, I’m a storyteller, and our music is all about the story of our lives. When it came to this album, we wanted to have something for people who wanted to know what our sound was like. This is our mark for where we’re at and where headed. Almost all of the songs we played for several months, but we needed a tie-in song to make the album work. So, I wrote “Tale of a Miner’s Life,” and that brought it all together. I work in the gold mines, and we wanted a way to represent this community. I hope it will be an interesting snapshot for people who don’t know the lives of miners. This story could be anyone’s. We just want the music out there and for everyone to be able to hear it!

“I want this album to bring some awareness and connection to the people in the mining community. Elko needed an anthem! We needed something that could represent this area! We live in this little bubble that can be hard to penetrate. It’s hard to describe it to people, but this will hopefully do that, whether you’re inside or outside of the Elko bubble. 

“The full album is going to be released on September 4th. They can get the album from us, and all of the album’s singles will also be available on all the major platforms.” 

You can stay connected with Muddy Boots and the Porch Pounders by following them through this link: Facebook

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See you around, Elko!

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