Matt Kennon in concert at TWC

Posted on: September 12, 2011

Country Rocker to perform acoustic set for community with local duo John Higdon and Savannah Roberts to open show.

ATHENS, Tenn. – Country rocker Matt Kennon will be in concert at Tennessee Wesleyan College on September 15.  John Higdon and Savannah Roberts will open the concert.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Music has been a part of rising country star Matt Kennon’s life for as long as he can remember.

Raised in music-fertile Georgia, he discovered homegrown country artists like Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson. “I remember being home sick from school one day listening to my clock radio and I heard Travis Tritt’s ‘I’m Gonna Be Somebody’ come on and then Alan Jackson’s ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow’,” he remembers. “That’s when I really felt that country music was cool and might be the road I needed to travel down.”

His love of music grew and he eventually began playing in a jazz band in high school and at church. “A lot of people got into sports—and I did too—but it wasn’t as fun to me as playing drums or listening to music,” he says.

During a guitar workshop put on by Christian artist Rich Mullins, 16-year-old Matt was asked to back the band on drums in front of 4,000 people. “I was blown away at being on stage and at that moment I knew performing was something I wanted to do,” he remembers.

He began singing at karaoke bars and then, as his confidence grew, he put bands together. He played the Atlanta club scene, performing covers of southern rock and country songs.

Later, under the guidance of respected songwriter and producer Chip Martin, he started recording original material. An album he put together to sell at shows further solidified his desire to make a living doing what he loved. “There were three songs I’d written and the rest were songs I’d found through Chip and his network of friends,” Matt says. “I had 1,000 CDs pressed and I sold them all within a couple of months. That’s when I realized that maybe it was something I needed to pursue.”

Kennon’s latest album, which includes songs he wrote with master tunesmiths Rob Crosby, Noah Gordon and Brian White, among others, features his own unique blend of music.

“It’s country, but it’s got a hint of rock ‘n’ roll mixed in,” Matt says. Indeed, guests on the project include Mark Slaughter of Slaughter and Jimi Jamison of Survivor, the band that sparked Matt’s performing fire years earlier. “It’s just good American music,” Matt contends.

Matt’s breakthrough single, “The Call,” is a perfect example. Written with Noah Gordon and Jeremy Campbell, the song speaks to the saving power of a well-timed phone call. “I’ve known people who have committed suicide and I knew girls that had abortions,” Matt says. “We’re not going to bring anybody back with this song, but hopefully we can save lives.

Kennon’s birth mother had made plans to abort him, but, unlike the song, his birth father never intervened.  His mother’s doctor, because she was past the legal limit by two weeks, arranged an at-birth adoption with a loving family that would raise the rising country star in a loving, stable home.

“I want to touch people with my music,” Matt says. “This is my calling. This is what God put me on this earth to do. Whether it’s a hundred people or a million, I want to have an impact.”

John Higdon and Savannah Roberts have been performing for years – both individually, as a duet, and in bluegrass bands.  Higdon, a native of Athens, is a student at TWC.  His musical Journey started in 4th grade when he learned to play the guitar.  Over the years, he has continued to advance his musical knowledge.  Roberts, a Niota native, has always been influenced by traditional country music.  An award winning vocalist and songwriter, she has been featured on several  TV shows won awards from the Tennessee Country Music Association (TCMA).