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“Breathe, Breathe In The Air…Don’t Be Afraid To Care”
Name: Matthew Burr
Also known as Matty Burr, Matteo, Matteo Oceano, Cado
Career Drummer/Founder of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Co-Founder Grand Point North Festival
Bands Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Blues and Lasers, Grace Potter, Dark Side Of The Mountain
Drums Specs Green Mountain “Vintage Shell” in Cobalt Blue Sparkle w/Walnut Hoops.
14′′x10′′, 16′′x16′′ and 18”x16” toms
20′′x16′′ & 24”x15” bass
14×10 80’s Premiere Snare
Heritage Welsh, Italian, North Jersey
Diet Pizza & Pasta. / Avocado Addict
Social Meds https://www.instagram.com/mattburr_thenocturnals


Hometown Vermont & Puerto Rico

Matthew Burr (born June 2, 1980) is an American rock drummer and record producer best known for drumming in both Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and the blues-rock group Blues and LasersAfter founding Grace Potter and the Nocturnals while a student at St. Lawrence University in New Yorkhe contributed to the group’s 2004 debut Nothing But the Water. The group subsequently signed with Hollywood Records and supported acts such as The Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthewsand Robert Plantalong with indie acts My Morning Jacket and the Avett Brothers. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals released their second album, This Is Somewhere, in 2007. In 2010 the Nocturnals released Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, with Catherine Popper and Benny Yurco and production by Mark BatsonBurr and original guitarist Scott Tournet co-wrote the single “Medicine” on the album, which became a tour staple often featuring Burr’s full band drum solo.

The fourth studio album by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, The Lion the Beast the Beat, was released in 2012 and produced by Jim Scott, with additional production by Dan Auerbach from the Black KeysThe album debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 chart. He continued to tour and record with the band over the next several years, while also contributing to tribute projects for Levon Helm  and Pink FloydAs of early 2016 Burr was touring in support of Midnight, a solo project by Grace PotterBurr co-founded the Grand Point North music festival in Burlington in 2011, which has booked acts such as Dr. Dog, the Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Trombone Shorty, The War on Drugs, The Flaming Lips, Dr. Johnand Old Crow Medicine ShowHe has made a handful of television and film appearances, for example appearing as himself in Woodstock: Now and Then in 2009. Through his music, he has supported a number of non-profit groups and initiatives, including Alzheimers awareness.

Early life and education

Matthew Philip Burr was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey on June 2, 1980. His father Frank was widely heralded for his charity work, most especially Walsh Park, an affordable housing project in New York that remains active and run by his son Andrew Burr. Burr’s grandfather, Frank W. Burr, had been the mayor of nearby Teaneck, New JerseyHis grandfather was a member of the Township’s Advisory Board on Community Relations from 1961 to 1967 and was its chairman when Teaneck became the first town in the nation where a white majority voluntarily voted for school integration. Burr attended Ho-Ho-Kus Public School, followed by the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey where he pursued a career in football until a knee injury in his final game vs versus Blair Academy. He later calling the injury “the best” and the main reason he pursued music. Describing himself as a lifelong fan of Pink Floyd and other experimental indie and classic rock bands, Burr avidly attended music concerts in his youth, with a particular interest in drumming.

He began attending St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York in 1999, majoring in English with a minor in Education and Music. Officially picking up drums in 1999, he became active with a number of student groups on campus. One of the groups, which he founded with future Nocturnals bandmate Scott Tournet, was named Soul Patch and lasted for several months as a “hip-hop funk rock band. Burr took a semester abroad at the end of his junior year, and also took part in jazz and journalism programs at Harvard University. He would return to Harvard in 2016 to pursue a Non-Profit Management degree. While a senior in the fall of 2002, Burr encountered fellow student Grace Potter performing at an open mic at the Java Barn on campus. Espousing a more powerful full band sound as compared to a singer-songwriter approach, He approached Potter about starting a musical group and the two formed a trio Burr named Nocturnal Grace. Potter and Burr were joined by Courtright Beard on bass and played a number of shows at small local venues. In the spring of 2003, Burr invited guitarist Tournet to join the group, finalizing the founding lineup of what would become known as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, an homage to favorites Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Additionally, Burr and Potter agreed the name change made sense based on the lead singers growing fan base in Vermont and a Christian Rock band sharing the same name. The same year Scott Tournet was invited to join the group, their close friend Jen Crowell joined the band. Burr graduated from St. Lawrence University in May 2003 and was awarded for his “outstanding service” in relation to the school’s Association For Campus Entertainment.

Music career

Early releases (2003-2006)

The band debuted at a “midnight breakfast” event at St. Lawrence under the name Nocturnal Grace. Burr performed for the first time under the name Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the 2003 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington, VermontHe returned to St. Lawrence University that fall to pursue a master’s degree in education, while remaining active with the Nocturnals. With guitarist Scott Tournet joining the band in the fall of 2003, Tournet and Burr focused on finding a new keyboard to match the strength of Potter’s voice and ended up purchasing Potter her now trademark Hammond B-3 console organ, with Burr also purchasing her 1971 Gibson Flying V used regularly in live shows. Only a few credits away from finishing his degree, in May 2004 Burr put his education on hiatus to work with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals full time. According to Relix Magazine, “while Grace Potter is the leader of the group, drummer Matt Burr can be described as its founder.” Moving to Vermont with the band, he helped Potter co-produce the group’s first effort Original Soul, which was independently released in 2004. Performing weekly shows at the Halverson’s venue early on, by 2005 they were the house band at the Nectar’s nightclub in Burlington. Early in their career, the band turned down several major label offers in favor of building a fanbase via touring and festival appearances.

In 2005, he contributed as a member to the band User Shorty Patent Co.’s album Depart So Slow, with Grace Potter also contributing keyboards. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals independently released Nothing But the Water in 2005 with sound engineer Lane Gibson. Also produced by Charles Eller, it was recorded in a barn on the campus of Goddard CollegeThe release was praised by Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahaland David FrickeFollowing extensive airplay on Vermont Adult Album Alternative radio stations WNCS and WEBK, the band signed a deal with Hollywood Records in December 2005 and re-released Nothing But the Water on May 23, 2006. Throughout this time the group supported acts such as the Dave Matthews Band, Taj Mahal, Robert Cray and Phish‘s Trey Anastasio. In the summer of 2006, the Nocturnals performed at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and the Newport Folk FestivalAlso by June 2006, the band was nominated for two Jammy Awardswinning “Best New Groove.” The band was also nominated for Boston Music Awards: Album Of The Year (major) for the re-release of Nothing But the Water.

Blues and Lasers (2007-2010)

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals released their second album, This Is Somewhere, on August 7, 2007 on Hollywood Records and toured that fall in support of Gov’t MuleAlso that year, Burr joined Blues and Lasers, a delta blues rock band from Burlington. Formed out of The Scott Tournet Band, the group has two drummers record and perform at the same time. In 2008 Blues and Lasers released the self-titled EP Blues and Lasers, which was recorded at Club Metronome in Burlington over a two-day period. Reviews stated that the album “joyously resurrects the blues-based rock and roll that populated AOR radio in the Seventies.”

Subsequently touring with both bands at the same time, Burr performed with the Nocturnals at the Mile High Music Festival in July 2008. That August the Nocturnals made their network television debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, followed by Good Morning America days later. Burr received praise from LA Weekly for his live drumming in December 2009, with the reviewer writing that “probably the most stunning drummer I’ve ever witnessed, Matt Burr (and his mustache), kind of stole that show.” Also in 2009 he appeared as himself in the rock concert documentary Woodstock: Now and Then. In 2010 Burr worked with Blues and Lasers on their debut LP After All We’re Only Human, which was recorded at Tank Studios in Burlington. Also that year, the Nocturnals appeared on Almost Alice with a cover version of Jefferson Airplane‘s song “White Rabbit,” and the band released their third studio recording, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, on June 8, 2010. Among others, Burr and original guitarist Scott Tournet co-wrote the single “Medicine” on the album.

Collaborations and Grand Point North (2010-2011)

As of 2010, he was periodically contributing to and collaborating with the Eames Brothers Band, contributing to the band’s 2010 album Down to Change. Also in 2010, Burr helped create a brand of chocolate for Lake Champlain Chocolates in Vermont, with Burr described as the “mastermind” of the collaboration. The Grace Under Fire bar was made available in June. Burr and Potter were also both involved in creating the Grace Potter’s Midnight Gold brand of maple syrup by Shaker Mountain Farm, also a small business in Vermont, and have received sponsorships from local Vermont companies such as Cabot Cheddar.

Higher Ground and Burr were among the cofounders of the Grand Point North music festival in Burlington in 2011, which over the ensuing years would book acts such as The Flaming LipsDr. Dog, the Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Charles Bradley, the Felice Brothers, Trombone ShortyThe War on Drugs, Trampled by Turtles, and Lake Street DiveBurr and Potter have focused the lineup and booths on local bands and business from Vermont, with the festival showcasing local businesses, food, artisans, and activist groups. Burr has explained that “we’re committed to throwing a festival that’s customized to the landscape and lifestyle of Vermont.”When Hurricane Irene resulted in almost every river and stream in Vermont flooding in 2011, relief concerts were organized by local bands such as Phish and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, with Burr participating. He has also performed at shows supporting Alzheimers awareness, cancer and AIDS research, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF), the First Tee of Augusta golf program, fair tradeand overseas troops at the “VH1 Divas Salute The Troops” event.

Pink Floyd project and concerts (2012-2014)

The fourth studio album by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, The Lion the Beast the Beat, was released on June 12, 2012. The album debuted at No. 17 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. He continued to tour and record with the band over the next several years, while also contributing to several tribute projects on the side. In October 2012, Burr was a special guest at the Love for Levon concert held in tribute to Levon Helm of The Band. He performed “I Shall Be Released” with Grace Potter and Don Was.

In 2013, Burr performed with the Nocturnals at the 2013 NCAA Finals Big Dance in Atlanta and Rock in Rio in BrazilAlong with guitarist Bob Wagner, Burr launched the project Dark Side of the Mountain in December 2013. With a bassist and keyboardist joining for several live performances at Nectar’s in October 2014, the shows featured a variety of Pink Floyd songs. During a residency at Nectar’s, the group featured guest artists such as Josh Weinstein, Kat Wright, Kelly Ravin, Matt Hagen, Marco Benevento, and Dan MunzingWith David Ponds as projectionist, Burr was continuing to organize the The Dark Side of the Bowl project run by Burr as of 2015, with guest appearances from Grace Potter at the Brooklyn Bowl and other venues. Other guest artists contributing to the project included saxophonist James Casey of the Trey Anastasio Band. Burr toured with the Nocturnals for much of 2014.

Midnight and touring (2015-2016)

“I usually start with a lyric or a melody and then build a song around that. But with the new music [for Midnight in 2015], I thought what’s a great way to sort of turn this inside out? I know, I’ll start with the drums. So this entire album, every single song I wrote started with drums. Luckily I had [Burr] there to play the drums right away. So if I had an idea, it was like, ‘Dude, play with me. Let’s get going. Set up a couple of crappy microphones, set up a little recording unit and get the work tapes going, starting with the beat.’ That’s really where the entire album spawned from.”   -Grace Potter in January 2016

In April 2015 Potter announced the upcoming release of a solo record titled Midnight. Working with Burr and producer Eric Valentine on the demos, Potter also brought in other members of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals for the recording process. Burr contributed percussion and drums to the songwriting process behind Midnight, with Potter later explaining that “when you start with the beat as opposed to starting with keys or a melody or lyrics building scaffolding, you already know what the building looks like. You just have to figure out what color to paint it…”NPR wrote that on the album Burr “keeps his kick drum on alert, as the grit of rock ‘n’ roll remains central to Potter’s approach. But in these songs, it’s a grounding element, not an obligation.” Reviewing a live Grace Potter show in October 2015, Elmore Magazine wrote that “At one point, Potter and husband Matt Burr, on drums, created a cosmic energy so intense, you had to rub your eyes to make sure it was just the two of them on stage… the couple perfectly complimented each other.” They toured in support of the new material in late 2015 and early 2016.

Genres and influences

Writing, recording, and performing drums in styles such as rockroots rock, blues rockDelta bluespopand jam band, Burr recollects being influenced by big band music and hit songs from the 1940s in his youth, as well as artists “dating back to the 1920s.” He has also cited his father’s barbershop quartet as an early influence with bands like “The Temptations and The Four Tops on “heavy rotation” as child. The majority of his influences were musically active between 1970 and 1974, and he states that Nick Mason of Pink Floyd played “a huge role in my development as a drummer.” Drummer Keith Moon‘s “merry filth and fury” in The Who documentary The Kids are Alright was influential on Burr’s personal direction in music, while The Band‘s Levon Helm gave a performance in The Last Waltz which inspired Burr to pursue drumming as a career. Explains Burr, “[Helm’s] joy that he threw out there was what made me seriously want to pursue music. When you’re onstage, it should be the holiest moment of your day.” Burr further explained in a 2012 interview with Modern Drummer that “Levon Helm in The Last Waltz [is] my holy grail.” Also, “my drumming is all about meat and potatoes with a little gravy. That’s my mantra.” He has also referenced the Muppet Animal, a drummer, in his live shows.

Equipment and technique

According to Ken Micallef of Modern Drummer, “a relaxed feel and the tone of his kit – which features single-headed toms tuned low – are Burr’s trademarks, as sure as Helm is his main man.” In 2008, the New York Times described Burr as “a drummer with a fondness for ‘Be My Baby‘ kick-start intros.” According to Relix Magazine, Burr plays “on the tips of his toes, rather than flatfooted like most of his peers” when using a drum set, purportedly because “when his parents first purchased him a drum kit, he didn’t know how to set it up properly and, without formal lessons, the stance endured.”

Burr has been praised as “a really great drummer” by country artist and occasional collaborator Kenny Chesney, who stated “Matt’s in front of the beat but he doesn’t rush it, and that’s a fine line to find. And the energy that comes from his snare drum is awesome – it filters throughout the stage. There are a lot of adjectives that you can write down when you watch a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show but energy, heart and passion are all part of it, and that starts with [Burr].” Burr uses custom-made drum sets by Green Mountain Drums, a Vermont-based company which also developed a Matt Burr Model of snares. In March 2014, he donated a custom-made Green Mountain Drums set for student use at his alma mater St. Lawrence University.


Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Main article: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals discography

Blues and Lasers

Main article: Blues and Lasers § Discography

  • Blues and Lasers EP (2008)
  • After All We’re Only Human (2010)

Production credits

Year Release title Artist(s) Role of Matt Burr
2004 Original Soul Grace Potter Co-producer
2005 Nothing But the Water Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Co-producer
2008 Live At Skowhegan Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Co-producer


Year Film Type/director Role of Matt Burr
2009 Woodstock: Now and Then Documentary by Barbara Kopple Himself



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