About Matthew Followill
While keeping it in the family, Tennessee-born brothers Caleb and Nathan Followill kidnapped their cousin Matthew Followill from his hometown in Mississippi in 2002 to play guitar in their band Kings of Leon, not allowing him to return home.
He taught himself the ways of the six string and since then it has been a holy roller ride from humble beginnings to Grammy winning success for the now critical acclaimed guitarist, whose searing guitar work is at the core of the band's tender stadium rock sound.
The early noughties saw the return of guitar rock in fresh form with Kings of Leon being hailed as the retro-chic Southern rock equivalent of fashionable garage rockers The Strokes from New York.
On their first release 'Youth and Young Manhood' (2003) they delivered what the title so tellingly promised, dispensing their youthful energy in thrilling songs with firm roots in testimonial boogie rock, blues and country.
Matthew Followill excelled in pumping up the songs with the kind of jagged guitar solos that inspired many a yearning bedroom guitarists. The album became a sensation in the UK and Ireland, where NME declared it "one of the best debut albums of the last 10 years".
The band expanded on the gritty sound of their debut the following year with 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' (2004), which solidified a steadily growing fan base abroad and gained even more domestic notice.
After touring with the likes of U2, Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam during 2005 and 2006, a much matured Kings of Leon returned and showed new strengths in terms of song writing with 'Because of the Times' in 2007. On this album the evocative guitar playing of Matthew Followill also ventured into new sonic territories.
His new vocabulary of modern stadium rock sounds really emerged on the band's mainstream breakthrough two years later, their fourth album 'Only by the Night' (2009).
The album went to the top of the UK Albums Chart and reached number four on the US Billboard Charts. It was the UK's third-biggest-selling album of 2008 and the biggest-selling album of 2008 in Australia (being certified platinum nine times). Furthermore Kings of Leon won Best International Band and Best International Album at the Brit Awards in 2009
The album highlighted his characteristic use of reverb drenched harmonized stabs and beautifully sustained delay lines, while still being prone to the sudden flash of edgy lead playing.
Just check out the beautiful album opener 'Closer', the octave pulsating 'Crawl' or 'Revelry', where discrete slap back lines and pierced bends underline the pained lyric. You are of course already familiar with the great lighter anthems 'Sex on Fire' and 'Use Somebody'.
The next two follow up albums 'Coming Around Sundown' (2010) and 'Mechanical Bull' (2013) harvested on the fruitful foundation laid by the world dominating success of 'Only by the Night', the band kept busy playing more than 50 cities in North America and Europe during 2010, before a three-year hiatus followed in 2013, leaving fans restless to wonder.
In the summer of 2016 a series of videos emerged from Kings of Leon on social media, building up anticipation to band's seventh album, this year's 'WALLS'. The album was released in October and saw a triumphant return to form, earning rave reviews from both the music press and peers. NME remarked how the album felt fresh and applauded the band for staying true to their giant sing-along hook-selves.
Of course the new album also features more of Matthew Followill's gifted playing and among the highlights are the solo of 'Muchacho', a personal favorite, he has stated in the press. The album stands as a testament to how a rocky foundation of guitar strings is still able to stand out with ear gripping intensity in the 21st century with a clearly defined identity that has mass appeal.