Struggle, Perseverance, and the genre of STAWMP

There is always a story behind every good musician and Corey Matthews’s is no exception. At the age of thirteen, Corey put his hands on a new, bright red bass guitar, a present from his parents, and the world of music was opened to him. Just a year later he had taught himself how to play and singing came shortly after.

Corey, originally a Kansas boy, has been in Oklahoma for about 5 years now and we can thank Mr. Kendall Jones who owns Kendle’s Bar on South May Ave for that. Corey speaks fondly of Mr. Jones and added, “He offered for me to get away from everything for a minute and come down and be a guest bartender at his bar and play a few shows here and I never left. I couldn’t be more thankful.” If you were lucky enough to have caught Corey play, you are well aware of the power and range of his raspy voice. In addition to Kendles Bar, Corey has since played in venues in Oklahoma City such as The Drunken Fry, Fuel Bar and Grill, Brewskeys, and the Roadhouse Bar and Grill.

Corey is the driving force that brought a new genre of music to the forefront. It is called STAWMP which is a combination of Blues and Soul with hints of Bluegrass. When asked about the inspiration behind his music, Corey admits that he plays for the working class. “The entire purpose I play a live show is so that the people who work their butts off all week, get at least an hour or two hours during the evening to escape from all the crap that happened all week. So, it’s really just the fact that I want to give people who deserve it the chance to let go and enjoy themselves.” Well, that is a pretty good reason, Mr. Matthews!

Life has given Corey Matthews twists and turns for sure. About 3 years ago Corey found himself in a deep depression. He was doing nothing but sitting around his house drinking alcohol and eating and at that time he was weighing in at around six hundred pounds. He openly admitted, “I was on a fast track to killing myself.” One day his friend, Bob Massa, showed up and told him to take a shower and get dressed, we are going to Nashville. He gave Corey no choice and together the two of them set off for the city of music leaving Oklahoma behind.

Nashville was an eye-opener for Corey, it was the first place that he was openly booed off stage dealing a huge punch to his ego. But it was also the place where something incredible happened. If you know Nashville, then you know of the Commodore Grille. Each night they host an open mic night providing an opportunity for anyone to play and sing. This venue is where songwriters test their music and world-class touring musicians have performed. Corey gave it a shot and for the first time in history, they allowed somebody to play an encore! “It was definitely a big boost to my self-esteem and encouragement to continue on and I cannot thank Bob Massa enough. He was my best friend and will never be forgotten,” Corey said of his late friend.

Corey has played music under a couple of different names. The first was Johnny Black, but by far the most successful group that he was a part of was The Highway Walkers. Here he combined his talents with David Wilson, David Neal, and Embrae Le Veen. Together they played gigs like the State Fair, performed live on Fox 25 KOKH, and were guests on the Katt Radio Station. The future looked bright and from every direction, there were indications of this band going far. Then Covid 19 happened. And as we all know, Covid was pretty much a death sentence for the entertainment industry. Ultimately The Highway Walkers had to go their separate ways.

Last year something especially important that many are not aware of is that Corey suffered from kidney failure and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. On top of that, he also lost his dad, his grandma, and his friend Bob Massa. Corey explains, “I know that a lot of venues were disappointed and angry that I had to cancel shows and it caught everybody off-guard, but between the kidney failure, the death of my father, the death of my grandmother, and the death of my best friend Bob Massa, unfortunately, I wasn’t in a good headspace physically or mentally and I needed time to recover.” And now that he has, he is jumping back into the music that he loves. He is even planning to release a two-part album in the next few months. The name of the first part is Cards That You Play which will be more of a catchy upbeat party vibe and the second is The Hand That You’re Dealt, a more serious heartfelt tribute to the things that are in his heart.

So, when are we going to see Corey Matthews the crooner back on the stage? Much sooner than you think…make sure and follow his social media for upcoming dates which is @STAWMP on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

By Published On: June 1st, 2022Categories: Live Music, Local Music0 Comments

About the Author: Kari Huskey

Kari Huskey
Kari grew up in the small northern town of Wakita, Oklahoma (yes, the Twister town lol) After graduation, she took her small town roots to Oklahoma State University where she learned how to 2-step and chug a beer...and study...there was some studying going on too. :) This is where she found herself immersed in the local music scene and just like that, her love of music and writing began. Through the years Kari has become a half marathon enthusiast and uses that as an excuse to travel, giving her the chance to explore the culture of other cities across the US. During her travels she gained appreciation for great craft beer, delicious food and how to pour the perfect glass of wine...all the way to the top of course!

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