11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Elijah Jones & Erik Matthijs of Elijah Jones & the Tenderness

Elijah Jones & the TendernessHere’s a first for 11 Questions: two musicians for the price of one! It comes in the form of Elijah Jones (lead singer and guitar) and Erik Matthijs (lead guitar and backing vocals) of the hot new Nashville band Elijah Jones & the Tenderness.

Four years ago, Elijah Jones of The Constellations moved to Nashville from Atlanta for a change of life and scenery. In that time, he began writing music that reflected upon his life and past experiences. Channeling his influences such as Otis Redding, Roy Orbison, and the Everly Brothers, Elijah’s songwriting began to take flight. With the help of his closest friends (Erik Matthijs, Nic Miller, Keanon-Keaton Payne) the music evolved and the Tenderness was formed.

Yet to record and release any material, you can taste some “tender” music courtesy of some live tracks at http://artistecard.com/elijahjonesandthetenderness#!/bio.

Kudos go out to our friend Jon Phillips for introducing me to these guys at a Josh Rouse show where we met over our mutual great taste in music. And thanks of course to Elijah and Erik for attacking my 11 Questions.

Be sure to catch these guys live when they play three of the coolest spots in town: Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge (August 1), Springwater Supper Club (August 11) and The Pond (September 7).


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

Elijah: I grew up in Atlanta and moved to Nashville in 2014, trying to clean up my act. Thanks to MusiCares for that.

Erik:  I was a military brat, so my family traveled around the globe, but for me I guess I would say North Carolina is where I’m from.  I moved to Nashville in 2014 due to my previous job locating my family here.  I’ve always loved Nashville so this was a “win-win” for me.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

Elijah: My first record I bought was the Annie soundtrack on vinyl.  I bought it at Turtle’s Music and admit that it is still on my iTunes.  The last record I bought was Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Illuminations.  I bought it at an estate sale on CD.

Erik: That’s tough to remember. I guess I would say the first record I remember buying was Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction on CD. The album still holds up to this day. Last record I bought was on vinyl, and it was Billy Corgan’s Ogilala.  Thanks to Grimey’s.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

Elijah: My first concert was the Jackson 5 at Fulton County Stadium, in Atlanta.  It was for the Victory tour, and Michael Jackson also did some songs from Thriller.  It was amazing!  The last concert I went to was T. Hardy Morris at the Basement in Nashville.  The music was phenomenal, and it was also great to see the folks who came from Atlanta and Athens to see the show.

Erik: My first concert that made me want to become a musician was back in ’97 when I saw the Marvelous 3.  Butch Walker, the front man, is such an amazing performer.  That show sold me on the idea of playing guitar, and that show blew my mind.  Last concert I went to was Jeremy Enigk, the lead singer from Sunny Day Real Estate.  Hands down one of the top 20 shows I’ve ever seen.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Elijah: Tom Waits for sure.  I’m not sure if he’s already there (editor: He’s not.), but he needs to be.

Erik: Ryan Adams, hands down.  I know he got banned from the Ryman years ago, but in my opinion, he’s an amazing singer-songwriter.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Elijah: For coffee, I go to Café Coco mainly because it’s open late. For pizza, Five Points Pizza in East Nashville for sure.

Erik: I usually make coffee at home or my job at Soundstripe has coffee on tap (Switters), so that’s where I usually go.  Pizza, I would have to say Five Points Pizza in East Nashville is pretty good for me.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Elijah: That’s a good question.  Anything that Patsy Cline put out is the first thing that comes to my mind.

Erik: It would have to be Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show? 

Elijah: Waffle House, always Waffle House. J

Erik: That’s easy!  My kitchen. Ha-ha! I always have plenty of random food in there for late nights.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you. 

Elijah: It would have to be John McCauley, Justin Collins from Justin & the Cosmics and John Prine no doubt!

Erik: That’s a tough one: Chris Carrabba, Taylor Alexander and Elijah Jones.  Yep, I had to put Elijah up there. No doubt. (Elijah: Aww thanks man.)

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

Elijah: Back when I was in The Constellations, we played Exit/In and Mercy Lounge, but Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge is my new favorite.

Erik: Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge has been so good to us, so I have to say that’s the place for me.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Elijah: My good friend, Dan Dixon from PLS PLS for personal reasons.

Erik: For me it would have to be Jimmy Gnecco.  If you haven’t heard of him, check him out.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

Elijah: First plan is to put out the final Constellations record sometime before the end of the year.  Then, it’s all about the Tenderness. Hence, wanting Dan Dixon to move here to produce our record for us.

Erik: To keep playing as many shows as we can and build a great following here in Nashville. There’s quite a bit of people that don’t know what we are doing since our music is so unique. However, I feel like once they experience one of our shows, they will get it and love it. Recording is something on our radar so that is the big one for me.


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