Local country crooner set to retire after 65 years

NORWICH – After over half a century of performing on an untold number of stages all across the state and beyond, local country vocalist and guitarist Merle Matts is hanging up his hat – figuratively, at least.

Matts – who first began singing at the age of five while attending services at the Plymouth Methodist Church – formed his first band, The Melody Range Riders, at age 13, playing local churches and grange halls.

At 16 years of age, he auditioned for Nashville promoter Jim Small, secured his first recording contract with Cool Recording Co. and released “Pink Shoes,” an original song written by Matts which eventually climbed to number 64 on the BMI top 100 song list.

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