2020 East Coast Music Association "Blues Recording" of the Year Nominee, Matchstick Mike has been compared to a genetic freak meld of Jimmie Vaughn and Freddy King, Mike’s blend of the traditional West Coast sound and the edgy Texas Blues, is infused with a pile of Maritime energy, and will leave you with warm memories and sore dancing feet the morning after a show.
Born on April 6th, 1969, Michael David Bidlake was first hypnotized by music when he was 4 years old when he first heard the "freight train" in Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues. Mike's father introduced him to the mandolin and Earnest Tubb at 7 and for the next 42 years he hasn't looked back. Bluegrass, country, along with early rock and roll were staples in the family household. Guitar and heavy groove based music were soon to follow for several years until the early 90’s when Mike discovered traditional Delta Blues as interpreted by Poor Charlie Robertson.
“Having met Charlie and his wife Beverly, was such a wonderful experience ...... hearing Charlie connected a few missing dots, stylistically for me. It was those dots that I had been looking for, the ones that gave me chills, man! ”.
Upon hearing of Charlie’s relationship with Son House, and how he learned the blues completely altered the path of Mike’s life.
“I instantly knew what I was supposed to be doing “.
That was in 1993, and since then Mike has immersed himself in the genre and come under the close tutelage of many of Canada's greatest blues players such as Doc McLean.
Mike has lead his electric blues band, The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys for the past 14 years and was the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival CBC Galaxie Rising Star ‘06 and Toronto Blues Society’s ‘06 Best New Blues Artist Runner Up. Since returning from a Canadian Forces Show Tour which took Matchstick to Afghanistan to play for our UN troops, Mike has had several trips to Southern Ontario building a substantial following as well as becoming a strong draw in all 4 of the Maritime Provinces.
Recently Mike has joined forces with 2 other veteran Maritime players to form a pure Rockabilly band called the Royaltones. Mike’s Sophomore record,“ Forever and a Day ” is receiving regular airplay with blues stations across the country, Europe and Brazil.
Matchstick's new 6 song EP was released in September, 2019 showcasing his finest work yet. Entitled : "Dog Up The Road", it was recorded with a "Who's - Who" of Maritime Blues players and has been nominated for "Blues Recording" of the Year at the 2020 ECMA's. The first single : " Crazy Kind of Love " is now in rotation at several Maritime radio stations, has had National exposure with the syndicated "East Coast Countdown" and is recieving new spins in new towns and country's added everyday.
Over the years, Matchstick Mike has had the opportunity to open or jam with the likes of “Steady Rollin” Bob Margolin (Muddy Water’s Band), Room Full of Blues, North Mississippi All-Stars, Zack Harmon, Toni-Lynn Washington, Matt Guitar Murphy, Candye Kane, Doc MacLean, Big Dave McLean, Keith Hallett, Jack Dekeyser, Sam Moon, Joe Murphy, Carter Chaplin, Brad Conrad, Shirley Jackson, John Campbell-John, Carson Downy, Brant Parkins, Bill Dowey and the Blues Devils, Ronnie Burk and Little Voodoo.
"You always been in the club kid, you just had to show up to the meetings"
- Doc Maclean