Mayor Matt Allen embraces Winnipeg music scene

Edmonton transplant considers himself a Winnipegger, thanks to the music scene.

Mayor Matt Allen knows a good thing when he sees it. He moved to mystical Winnipeg as he calls it, from Edmonton and now he is quick to call himself a Winnipegger.

Allen's musical style reminds CBC host Bruce Ladan of Tom Waits or Tom Wilson of Lee Harvey Osmond.

Allen tells Ladan that he was working in a restaurant in Edmonton when the oil boom hit, and rents started going up. Then his friendship with Jaxon Haldane of the D. Rangers that prompted Allen to consider Winnipeg. "I found out Jaxon owned a house and I was like 'What? Musicians own houses in Winnipeg?,'" he recalled. "I've gotta go check it out. So I came out and did some gigs and decided to pack up my van and move on out."

That was eight years ago and Allen hasn't looked back. He's married, owns a house in Point Douglas, and has a six year old daughter. "If you would have told me when I hopped into that van to come to Winnipeg that any of those things would have happened I wouldn't have believed you," he insisted.

Allen picked up the name Mayor Matt Allen when he was living in Lethbridge. "The guy who was writing for the newspaper there would never write about anything local which was annoying for those of us who were working hard to make things happen," he explained. "My friend Geoff Berner was doing an interview with him and so every chance he got he would say 'thanks to Matt Allen, the unofficial mayor of Lethbridge'. And he said it often enough that the reporter had to use it in his piece. So the name just kind of stuck. I guess I'm Mayor Matt Allen."

Mayor Allen also has another band project called Anusphear which is a super-charged, grungy, punk metal band. And he says his next album will likely be an acoustic project. "I just love the idea of doing different things...being a part of music instead of defining yourself narrowly within a genre."

Matt Allen and the Little Buddies open for Luke Jacob on Saturday January 4 at the Windsor Hotel.  Just before that gig, you can hear him in conversation with CBC host Bruce Ladan on SCENE on January 4. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.