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Great Minds Unplugged at Tease

Several generations of classic rock merge in the acoustic songs of the father-and-son band, Great Minds Unplugged. Matt Matthews, 52, and Chris Matthews, 24, both share an appreciation for music and love for good old rock and roll.

The duo formed Great Minds Unplugged more than a year ago and have been performing throughout Southern Oregon at venues such as Avalon Bar and Grill and Harper's Restaurant, as well as private parties and Ashland's First Friday art walk.

"One of the reasons we named the band what we did is because (Chris) and I are two peas in a pod," Matt said.

Great Minds Unplugged will be preforming at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Tease Restaurant, 303 E. Main St., Ashland.

Music has been a prominent part of the Matthews family. Matt's father, Chris' grandfather, Glenn Matthews, was a music professor at Southern Oregon University for many years. In the 1970s and '80s, Matt, who plays six- and 12-string guitar, played in the bands, Brew and Crystal Wind. Chris, a senior at SOU, has been studying percussions under Terry Longshore. He has performed for the Camelot Theater, Oregon Stage Works, the Rogue Valley Symphony and various jazz groups. Chris plays the cajon, a South American hand drum in the shape of a box that produces many sounds, and the melodica, a cross between a keyboard and a harmonica, as well as the piano, drums and other orchestral percussion instruments.

"(The cajon) is very versatile," Matt said. "We refer to it as a drum kit in a box."

"Basically with two voices, the guitar and the cajon, you get a lot of sound out of two people."

The duo prefers to play renditions of cover songs rather than write their own.

"The tunes we play are really good tunes," Matt said. "I don't think I could write anything like that."

Matt said much of their music is 1970s, '80s and modern cover songs from bands such as Aerosmith, the Beatles, Cake, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper," which they play with a little cowbell from guest performers.

"We do original arrangements of tunes people know," Matt said. "They're cover tunes done our way, but we do our best to be faithful to the original intent."

Matt said neither he nor Chris has officially recorded any of their songs.

"It's not about being a recording act, but just playing for people," he said.

Matt and Chris along with Greg Bailey and Bill Fischer also form the rock band, Echos.

Cover for the Great Minds Unplugged show is $3. Call 488-1458.

Father and son duo, Matt and Chris Matthews, will play original arrangements of classic and contemporary rock. - Photo by Mary Matthews