Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival CBC Galaxie Rising Star ‘06 and Toronto Blues Society’s ‘06 Best New Blues Artist Runner Up, Matchstick Mike Bidlake has developed a sound all his own from the years of searching and honing his craft into a show that can be so quiet you can hear a pin drop one minute, to having the whole crowd up dancing the next. screaming the words to their favorite rocking blues number. Having 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 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. Matchstick has been working his craft both writing and performing regularly in the region, as well as performing across Canada and Europe bringing his own brand of upbeat, dance-inspiring music with 119 performances given in 2017.
Mike has lead his electric blues band, The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys for the past 13 years and most 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.
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 and is booking an Ontario Tour in early 2018 to accompany the release of his 4th collection of work entitled “ I Don’t Get Bit by the Same Dog Twice “ which is currently in production. Mike will be also fronting the Royaltones on a Cross Canada Tour starting in June, 2018 and also anticipates that in 2018, he will be back in Europe, to support the new record.
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.