Matthew Sabatella brings to life music that is woven into the fabric of the United States. As a singer, instrumentalist, recording artist, performer, speaker, writer, and content curator, he illuminates the connection between music and the story and people of the United States. His projects to this end include the Rambling String Band and the Ballad of America albums and website.
By 2001, Sabatella had released two critically-acclaimed albums as a singer/songwriter and provided musical support for a variety of other rock/pop artists as a bass player. Around this time, a folk music revival occurred within him, prompted by the acquisition of a six-CD collection called The Anthology of American Folk Music. Sabatella had always leaned toward acoustic music but had relatively little knowledge of American music made prior to the 1950s, and he certainly had not been an avid student of history, having barely survived his high school classes on the subject. "Starting with the Anthology," Sabatella recalls, "the history of the United States came alive for me as I began to understand people from the past through their music: early colonial settlers through the ancient ballads, religious songs, and dance tunes they carried here; people in slavery through the spirituals and work songs born out of their suffering. Blues music, Appalachian folk songs, songs of frontiersmen, factory workers, sailors, soldiers, railroad workers, activists, and others are all ingredients in the great cultural stew that is the United States of America today."
Since that epiphany, Sabatella has been singular in his mission to share this rich musical heritage with others, both for the sheer love of the music and for its value in inspiring people to better understand each other and America's past, present, and future. He added banjo and mountain dulcimer to his arsenal of instruments, studying old-time playing techniques with a variety of masters. He also resumed formal schooling and earned a Master of Arts in History from Florida International University to complement his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Miami. He is currently a member of the Society for American Music and the Folk Alliance International.
With the Rambling String Band, Sabatella has released three albums in the Ballad of America series, each with a different historical theme. Sabatella sees the possibilities for future recordings and releases as nearly endless. The Rambling String Band perform live shows for audiences ranging from elementary students to young adults and seniors. Sabatella is currently writing his first book and looks forward to a long career dedicated to carrying on the traditions of the music that he loves - American heritage music.
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