Leek Creek, Texas, on the Louisiana line – if that doesn’t already sound like a song,
singer-songwriter EJ Mathews is here to assure you otherwise. He’s been performing original
tunes about it since about the time he was born there, in what he calls the Creek, near Bivins in
Cass County, far East Texas. His grandfather was a musician in Georgia, and he and other
family members taught him songs and instruments from a young age. Listening to EJ play is like
hearing his life story. He describes the details, like those famous Texan blue skies, to the
delicious Southern food on the table. Stories of growing up. What it took to find fuel when you’re
a 12-year-old with a truck. You can almost feel the warm wind blowing through the trees.
Of course, life in rural communities doesn’t often present many fresh opportunities, and when
jobs in the Creek were scarce, like scores of musicians before him, the promise of better
opportunity led EJ to the big city – Dallas. He went to school, got married, raised a family. But
the stage is never far off, and he’s traveled the world playing his songs to the folks that’ll listen –
and you can bet they always do.
EJ has a comfortable, humorous attitude that draws you in, whether you came to hear him or
not. He says he likes all kinds of music if it’s good, and honestly, “it ain’t even gotta be that
good.” Influences range from the obligatory Howlin’ Wolf to Iron Maiden and Papa Roach, and
one song even references Kenny Chesney. “I like the creativity of it, seeing how someone’s
mind works, how they put their songs together.” This ear for reverse-engineering music presents
itself perfectly in his ability to craft songs on the spot, which he’ll often do from the stage. He’s
won bets this way. His fourth record, Smokin’ and Drankin’, came out on State Fair Records in
July, and it’s the perfect representation of that laid-back, cool style that’s all EJ. One thing
remains true – songwriting is his true love. “I’m a writer, I don’t do covers.” He’s telling you his
story, and you can bet it’s one you wanna hear. And if you can’t help but shake your hips a little,
well, that’s EJ working his magic.