Country singer, songwriter, and guitarist Matt Stillwell grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in the western part of North Carolina, which gave him a grounding in rural musical styles, although he listened to a wide range of pop music during his teens, from Garth Brooks to Guns N' Roses. He attended Western Carolina University, earning All-Southern Conference honors as a baseball player. Moving to Nashville to seek a career in music, he developed contacts with some of the city's best musicians, who later played on his debut album. He didn't wait to score a major label record contract, but instead toured the South with his guitar, gradually building up a following. He self-released Take It All In on his own Still 7 Records label on June 13, 2006. Two years later he released Shine. The album's title track was also the anthem for the two-day music festival Stillwell created, Shinefest.
Planned as an annual event, the inaugural Shinefest 2008 was held in Fontana Dam, NC. ~ William Ruhlmann