Born in Tuscon, Arizona, Matt Kinman’s life is deeply rooted in traditional music. When he was nine Matt joined his school’s orchestra class as a violinist but was eventually kicked out due to his refusal to read music. Foregoing formal training, he opted instead to study music by listening and imitating musicians with whom he played firsthand.
When his family relocated to Florence, South Carolina, Kinman began his professional music career playing mandolin and fiddle in upscale restaurants at the age of twelve. The urge to travel and play music soon overcame him and he quit school, leaving home when he was fifteen. “I’d find every musician that I wanted to be around and I’d take off. It didn’t matter if I had a car or not… I’d take off walkin… I’d take off on a bus… I’d take off if someone would pick me up and give me a ride to get there. I didn’t care and if I had no job or no money to get there- I went anyways.”
Kinman settled into a career as an industrial plumber and worked as one for about fifteen years. Eventually the urge to play music resurfaced and Matt hit the highways again playing music, earning the moniker, The Little Hobo, as he sought out musicians from whom to learn. He has since performed with acts such as The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Hackensaw Boys, Leroy Troy, Marty Stewart, and the list goes on.
Currently, Kinman performs solo most of the time and “trades on about anything” to make ends meet. “I just try to be honest and go out there and play music and trade around. I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of big names… It ain’t that I’m anything great, by no means… I just play old music the way that I hear it in my head and that’s the way it comes out”.
His latest album, Travlin' Songs, is set to be released on September 18th on his own label Lonesome Whistle Records. Travelin' Songs will feature 18 songs that will be sure to take you back to a simpler times of when songs to the stories of the good ole' days.