CBS6 News // By Anne McCloy
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Solo artist Matt Butler has a huge following.
A lot of his fans are inmates in jails and prisons, and it all started in Albany County.
“I’ve found it to be one of the most amazing gigs I’ve played in my whole life,” Butler said.
Butler performs behind bars to try and reach inmates struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. He’s in recovery himself.
“There was a time where I didn’t have a place to live, and stuff like that, and my relationships with my family, I thought at the time were irreparably damaged,” Butler said.
Matt’s gone five years without using drugs or alcohol. His songs are about addiction.
“I think what’s allowed me to connect with inmates, is we have that story in common,” Butler said.
Since his very first jail concert at the Albany County Jail in 2016, Butler’s played about 50 shows at correctional facilities across the country.
“I’ve done six shows at Rikers Island. I’ve done a whole tour of state prisons in Ohio,” Butler said.
His jail house rock has opened big doors. On this stop in Albany County to play for the inmates, Matt was on his way to play on the Vans Warped Tour.
He was featured as a “sober artist” and is helping promote an app called Fend.
“Which is an app that focuses on overdose awareness prevention and awareness for kids, obviously the Warped Tour is ‘teen central’,” Butler said.
With the Warped Tour over as of last night, Matt says he’ll go back on tour at county jails.
He says if he can help just one person, he’s succeeded.
“I think just locking someone up doesn’t help them heal. People can transform, and I look at myself as a living example of that.”
Butler has established the Just One Foundation, which will help him continue his mission to reach inmates and help them stay out of jail upon their release.