It's the late 1960's... somewhere in the middle of America. Art & Teresa Mathews are a young, newly married couple... madly in love. They both have a passion and a gift for music and at this point in their lives are spending their days and nights sharing many things: playing guitar, singing and building harmonies, cutting up on stage, writing country, folk & bluegrass songs... and a tour bus. They are on the road out of Tulsa with a then unknown singer named Charles Daniels. Art as lead guitar and Teresa as back-up vocalist for a band hand-picked by Charlie to open for his own band, The Jaguars. They are doing what they love and loving what they do! Life is good! In late September, 1970, Teresa gets pregnant and returns home to have their daughter. But for Art, 'the road' never ends.
Audra Mathews was born on June 29,1971, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She developed a fondness for words at an early age and her mother would tell you, "She talked early... and incessantly!!", always asking "why?". She began singing almost immediately thereafter and replies warmly when asked that she doesn't remember ever NOT singing. Everywhere she went she sang, even in public, keeping herself from feeling uncomfortable and intimidated with the sound of her own voice. She sang in the school choirs in elementary, junior high and Jay High School where she received the only formal vocal training she's ever had from Terry Jordan, the JHS Choir Director.
After high school, she attended college as a math major and started waiting tables, quickly becoming known as the singing waitress. At age 25, while driving the late night, hour long drive home from a shift, and mulling over a close friend's 'love triangle' situation, she wrote her first song. 'When You're Gone', written entirely in Audra's head, is a poignant tale told from the perspective of 'the other woman' and very similar in concept to Sugarland's hit, 'Stay', which was released 10 years later. Restricted by the fact that she did not play any instrument, Audra promptly recruited her mother to grab her own guitar and put the chords to the melody that she heard in her mind. She wrote this way for the next three years., songs like 'Twinkle', 'Mr. Right' and 'The Little Things'... only being able to hear the music when she could persuade her mother to play them.
In January, 2000, at age 28, in need of something to occupy her time during a 6 month move to Iowa, Audra borrowed her mother's back-up nylon string guitar and began teaching herself basic chords and the finger picking style that she'd watched her mother play her whole life. The internet not being what it is today and with no one to instruct her, she used her math background and basic knowledge of a piano keyboard to determine how to build the chords and to modify them. Her mother's masterpiece performance of a classic song by The Animals kept her inspired and 'House of the Rising Sun' became the first song she would learn to play. In July of that year, Audra returned to Tulsa. She continued her favorite style of writing (in her head) ( 'Home For My Heart' & 'If The Dance Floor Could Talk' (co-write)) but she no longer had the endless hours to devote and the guitar was set aside for life... but not for life!
Fast forward now, thirteen years... through a lifetime of searching for the father she never knew ( 'Are We There Yet' ), failed relationships ( 'What's Left Of It' ), repressed passion and heartache ( 'Be Still My Heart' ), poor self worth ( 'How Would You Know' ) and domestic violence ( 'These Black & Blues' & 'Nobody Knocks Anymore' )... ... to a newly single, mother of four whose spirit had been crying out for a return to her Maker, her music and the peace and love that she never lost faith truly existed... Audra awakened. She dusted off her guitar, started playing and actively writing again and began slowly immersing herself in the Singer-Songwriter circles in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Having decided that no one would play her songs as passionately as she would, she became even more determined! She practiced relentlessly and finally... FINALLY... overcame a major mental block... she learned to actually STRUM the guitar ( 'To Love Somebody'). It was during this period of making new friends and re-embracing her faith that songs like 'I Still Reach For You (A Soldier's Wife)', 'Hard to Tell', 'Mirror, Mirror', 'Match (Made In Heaven)', 'Men of Liberty' and her blues-ed up version of ‘Jolene’ were born.
In July, 2014, through a series of events that Audra happily describes as 'divine intervention', she 'Finally' (work in progress) met the man that was present in so much of her music but had not yet manifested in her life. Turned out, he is a singer, too... another prayer answered. The attraction was instantaneous and mutual and within a few months, their love had inspired Audra to several songs, such as 'Last First Kiss', 'Within Lips Reach' & 'I Don't Want to Leave'. Ty and Audra sing together constantly and had a band called 'Brazen' for a short while in the Tulsa area until she moved an hour northeast to be with Ty. They currently reside in a small town with her three youngest children and fill their days with music, love and laughter. She is actively writing, 'They Just Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To' & 'Working Hard to Hide the Lonely', and still working on learning to play all the songs she's written through the years. She is also preparing for her first album (untitled, as of yet) and just released her debut single on Spotify, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon (and all other major platforms) on November 8th... the aforementioned 'I Still Reach For You (A Soldier's Wife)', dedicated to the wives of American soldier's. God is good!
In Other Words~
Describing Audra's style is not hard. She is anything but 'Today's Mainstream Nashville Hip-Hop Snap-Rap Pop-Top Country'!!! Her Classic Country influences become quickly apparent when you hear her cover songs like 'Crazy', 'At Last', 'Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue' and 'Summertime', all of which she learned listening to her mother's records. Later when she began studying song structure for her own writings, it was always The Judds and their fantastic family harmonies. Her own writings and vocals are consistently reflective of her upbringing , though often infused with a shade of the blues, gifted from her mother ( 'Ode to the Blues' ) or a touch of bluegrass, gifted from her father (' Laura Lie' & 'Heaven Is A Dirt Road' ).
Her forte', though, is lyrics! Her early love for words has manifested in a keen fondness for their many meanings, a flare for spinning and pairing opposite cliche's and a knack for highly visualized storytelling! In other words, more often than not, her songs are describing a miniature movie... literally AND metaphorically, 'Love on the Rocks'!!! She's a 'Three Wooden Crosses' kind of writer ... but 'On the Other Hand'! Exactly! You're really going to want to listen to the words!
The biggest difference, you'll discover, between her and another female artist, is simply presentation. When you watch her sing, you don't get the feeling she's 'performing'... or singing 'at' you. She's humble and gentle and it's obvious. You get the feeling she's baring her soul to you. You'll hear her voice change from a delicate almost-whisper, to a gravelly resonance, to a throaty tear-filled cry, to a note jump reminiscent of a yodel (but not)... all in one song! And she draws on the same emotions it took to write her originals every time she sings them! In short, she sings from her soul! As one review put it, "....I want to compliment you on the feeling and compassion you put into the song. I could almost see a lonely hotel room with a sign flashing outside. It felt like you really needed for someone to help you make it through the night. In other words you sold the song and sold it well." ~Brian W., Agassiz, British Columbia, regarding Audra's acoustic cover of 'Help Me Make It Through The Night'.
In other words, Audra Mathews may not be the most awarded vocalist, have the best range or be the most accomplished guitarist you've ever heard... but she'll sing you one of the most memorable and moving Singer-Songwriter's songs you'll ever....want to keep listening to!!