Matt Hughes picked up his first guitar over 30 years ago. He started learning songs from some of his favorite bands at the time. Black Sabbath, KISS, Ozzy and others. A few years later in high school, along with some friends he formed a band. Nothing much came of it and he moved on. He tried in College to put another band together, but had no luck. It wasn’t until 2001 that he would seriously consider playing again. He was invited by friends one night to come to the Harp and Fiddle. There was this band playing they thought he would like, they were called The Wild Geese. He already loved Celtic music, but this band took it to another level! After following the band for a few years, they broke up. This is where our story really begins.
In 2005 on One October night, Matt was invited to the party and jam at Bob Dublin’s. Despite only knowing one song at the time, Matt asked if he could play guitar. Luci Tedesco, who had played fiddle with the Geese before they disbanded, asked to play the song along with him. Matt received a positive response and decided to begin learning Irish tunes. He spent the next year learning Irish tunes and playing for his friends at Bob’s parties.
Matt made his solo debut in 2006 playing at Paddy’s Pour House in Carnegie, PA. About a year or so later a couple friends expressed interest in putting a band together. They decided on the name Ar Eigean Gael “almost Irish” since they loved Celtic Music but were mostly not of Irish descent. Sue Borowski would later join them after posting an ad on a local Irish community website. The lineup was complete and they started rehearsing.
They made their debut at The Grove Irish Pub on Parade Day 2008. Receiving a great response they continued to do shows anywhere they could find them. It was also in 2008 the band made it’s debut at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. Sadly about a year later the band split up.
Around the time of the demise of Ar Eigean Gael, Cindy Myers approached Matt about forming a Celtic/Pirate band. Thus Matt began working with Off Keel. Later Sue Borowski and Matt formed a music side project: Celtic Shores, making their debut in 2010 at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.
In 2015 Off Keel met its demise. Matt continued working as his alter ego Angus McHugh finishing out the shows booked for the year. During that time, he started talking to Shawn Howland about putting something together. In January 2016 they started rehearsing. They made their debut at the Enchanted Lakes Renaissance Festival 6 months later to raucous audiences!
Since then Matt has been working on a return to his roots releasing 2 Metal CD’s under the name Majestic Reign. He’s also continued with the Cannons as well as the occasional solo show.