Matthew Wilburn Skinner - Progressive Voices Concert Series

  • 1800 Bell Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50315
  • Presented By: Progressive Voices Concert Series at First Unitarian Church
  • Dates: March 7, 2020
  • Location: First Unitarian Church
  • Phone: (515) 244-8603
  • Start/End Time: 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
  • Price: $20
  • Overview

    Matthew Wilburn Skinner delivers brilliant guitar and banjo playing and honest, soulful, original songs with beautiful depth.

    TICKETS: $20 in advance / $25 at the door. Season tickets are 4 shows for $70 or 6 shows for $105 and include additional benefits (also available at


    Raised by wolves, taught by squirrels, friend of the owl- Matthew Wilburn Skinner sings songs of happiness and sorrow. As one-third of the band Tallgrass, he's done his part to expand the possibilities of the banjo beyond a bluegrass instrument. "I used to just try and play really fast," he admits. "Which was a challenge, but then I realized you can't move the soul with that many notes, heh. Just the feet." He still plays fast sometimes, "I can't help it, haha, it's fun," but it seems to have moved beyond a sport for him somehow.

    His Delta blues/jazz fingerstyle on the acoustic guitar is also crazy unique, with flourishes of virtuosity in between vocals that will break your heart before lovingly putting it back together again. Starting out in Iowa City more than 15 years ago, he honed his craft as a player and a sound engineer before moving with Tallgrass to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2013. He now plays in Tallgrass, does solo performances, and hand-builds banjos at Cloverlick Banjo Shop.

    He released his solo album, Play for the King, in 2017. "Play for the King is an excellent folk album. For those looking for a well-crafted, full-bore folk album with soul, Skinner's debut folk album is the pick of the litter," says Bandwagon Magazine.


    "Matt's talents are not strictly limited to his time in the band, Tallgrass. His solo performances are a thing of beauty. You are sure to be drawn in by the first soulful moments. Very proficient on both guitar and banjo, Matt enjoys playing and experimenting with open tunings. Drawing on many influences, his songs are honest and soulful, with beautiful depth." ~ Little House of Sound

    "Matthew Wilburn Skinner has a deep, gravelly voice and has put together a wide range of styles of original material on this debut solo CD. The tempos and genres bend with and within each song, making something for everyone." ~ KRFC 89.9, Fort Collins, CO

    "Colorado folk singer, Matthew Wilburn Skinner, has a dusty, hushed sound, beautiful and old, . . ." ~ Ben Naddaff-Hafrey, NPR Music