Years ago, Mike Mattison and Paul Olsen changed from the bland band name Mike and Paul to ScrapOmatic, adding some flare to their blues tunes.
Since then the duo — although sometimes trio or more — has been hitting the blues scene all over the country and will make a pit stop in Dahlonega this weekend.
Mattison, also the front man for The Derek Trucks Band, said singing has always just come naturally.
Over the years he has modeled his singing style after blues artists Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield, among others. And this weekend, the night after he performs with ScrapOmatic at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega, The Derek Trucks Band will be up for a Grammy for its best contemporary blues album, "Already Free!," on Sunday night.
On Saturday night, ScrapOmatic will play music from its three albums, the most recent album being "Sidewalk Caesars," recorded in 2007 in Atlanta and released in 2008. Other albums are "ScrapOmatic" and "Alligator Love Cry."
We caught up with Mattison to talk about his first performance in Dahlonega and his first Grammy nomination.
Question: What can people expect from your show this weekend at The Crimson Moon?
Answer: We’re going to be a trio. The nice thing about ScrapOmatic is we started off as a duo and we could be as big as a six or seven piece. This weekend is just three of us — myself, Paul Olsen who founded the group with me and then Dave Yoke, who is a great guitar player and recorded our last album with us and has done some touring.
Q: The album "Already Free" that you recorded as the lead singer of The Derek Trucks Band is up for a Grammy Sunday. What are your feelings about the honor?
A: Our album "Already Free" is up for best contemporary blues album. It is kind of a funny situation because Derek is actually up against his wife (Susan Tedeschi) so they are having some interesting domestic discussions and it would be nice to win because I think an award like that carries a lot of clout from a business perspective. But I don’t put a lot of stock in the Grammys. If you left it up to the Grammys to determine your reputation, you probably would be pretty disappointed.
Q: Where did the name ScrapOmatic come from?
A: We were going by just Mike and Paul for a while and we realized that it was very lame. And so it was kind of a long process through committee and we came up with some(thing) pneumatic. We liked that idea, and then we had been talking about being kind of scrappy and we just put the two together and kind of envisioned it as some sort of machine from the 1920s.
Q: What were some of your inspirations for your last album, "Sidewalk Caesars?"
A: Part of the rule that we set up for ourselves when we put the band together was that as long as we touched on American roots music, be that blues or jazz or country or mountain ... I think it is eclectic in the good sense of the word, you can really hear the country influences. There’s a lot of blues, a little New Orleans in there ... But I do think we do have a style that can tie all those things together.
Q: If you were to describe your blues vocals to someone who has never heard it, what would you say?
A: I can tell you who I steal from. My big heroes are Taj Mahal, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Dr. John. ... Those are people who I try to emulate.