Matt Hughes picked up the guitar over 20 years ago. At the time he was largely influenced by bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Overkill, and Candlemass. While still in high school Matt performed in a band called Majesty which inevitably fell apart as it’s members went their separate ways after graduation.
In 2001 Matt was introduced to a local Pittsburgh act, The Wild Geese Band. The band’s interpretation of traditional tunes and heartfelt originals inspired Matt to seek out more Irish music. Among the bands he discovered were Great Big Sea, The Fenians, and Blackthorn.
One October night, Matt was invited to the party and jam at Bob Dublin’s. Despite only knowing one song at the time, Matt asked if he could play guitar. Luci Tedesco, who had played fiddle with the Geese before they disbanded, asked to play the song along with him. This turned out to be a life-altering move. Matt received a positive response and decided to begin learning Irish tunes.
Shortly after that evening, Paul Giampaolo asked Matt if he would be interested in doing a Celtic metal project, thus MetalKelt was born. Matt and Paul recorded a CD they mostly regret now, as the album was vocally weak. During this time Matt continued to find Irish influences in artists such a Terry Griffith and Coyote Run. A year or two later Matt formed Ar Eigean Gael with friends, including Paul Giampaolo, Karl Greenley and Sue Borowski. After months of rehearsal the band made their debut on St Patrick’s Day 2006. The band played together for a few years, but eventually called it quits in 2009.
Around the time of the demise of Ar Eigean Gael, Cindy Myers approached Matt about forming a Celtic/Pirate band. Thus Matt began working with Off Keel. Later Sue Borowski and Matt formed a music side project: Celtic Shores, making their debut in 2010 at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.
Most recently Matt has begun to play metal again and is working on songs both new and old for a metal fusion project. He is looking forward to what the future will bring with Off Keel, Celtic Shores, and his metal fusion!