By Destiny Brown
If you’ve been in the area for awhile, you’re most likely familiar with the name Delta Donnie. If not from the music scene, you’ve heard his name once or twice when his restaurant in Gulf Shores, Delta Blue comes up in conversation. In the few years he has resided in the Coastal Alabama area, Delta Donnie Mathis has definitely made a name for himself as both a talented musician and a friendly business owner.
Originally from Arkansas, Mathis began honing in on his musical talent from a young age.
“I started playing guitar at the age of six and played in a country music show at the age of eight,” Mathis said.
He gained the nickname “Delta Donnie” from being raised on the Arkansas Delta on the Mississippi river and the name stuck.
Music was common in Mathis’family. His cousin was a recording artist with the famous Sun Records which first signed and recorded Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and many more legendary artist.
“I grew up in the Country and Rockabilly music world.” Mathis said. The genre would continue to follow him throughout his music career and forever be a major influence to the songs he learned and wrote.
Soon after he developed his skills for singing and guitar, Mathis began writing songs of his own. Throughout high school and college, Mathis played with bands and began to recognize and appreciate the artist who inspired him.
Early in his career, Mathis says his musical influences ranged from country outlaws to the pioneers of rock n’ roll. A few included Elvis, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.
Mathis continued his career as a musician and flourished at his trade. In 2015 came the biggest accomplishment of his musical career, he was fortunate to be inducted into the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
In 2016, Donnie and his wife, Donna relocated to Gulf Shores from Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“We moved to this area for the music, golf and sunshine!” Mathis said.
In March of 2018, Mathis tried his hand at something new, opening a restaurant. Delta Blue Bar soon opened it’s doors and the rest is history. Delta Blue focuses on local live music while also offering a wide variety of food and a laid back atmosphere.
Stop by Mathis’ restaurant, Delta Blue, located in Waterway Village under the bridge in Gulf Shores, for some of the best live music in Gulf Shores. Mathis performs regularly and is always inviting fellow local musicians to join in!