GA-20 are a three-piece blues combo whose sound is a raucous throwback to the raw immediacy of vintage Chicago blues. Founded by guitarist Matthew Stubbs, their performances are simple but potent, stripping the songs to their frameworks with just two guitars and a drummer, while the songs are modern-day variations on the joyous menace of the heyday of Chess Records. Founded in 2017, the band made a muscular debut with 2019's Lonely Soul, which captured their power and passion in straightforward, lo-fi style.
Boston native Matthew Stubbs had already earned a reputation as an ace guitarist playing with legendary blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite, as well as his own psych-influenced rock group Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas. Wanting to launch a blues-oriented project of his own, Stubbs joined forces with Pat Faherty, another guitarist whose work was steeped in blues, vintage R&B, and rootsy rock & roll. The new group began playing out in 2017 before they had settled on a name, with Stubbs and Faherty joined by harmonica player Matt Prozialeck (best known for his work with Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers) and a rotating cast of drummers. By early 2018, they had settled on a drummer, Chris Anzalone of the long-running Roomful of Blues, and adopted the name GA-20, which refers to a much-loved guitar amplifier manufactured by Gibson in the '50s.
In December 2018, GA-20 brought out their first single, "Naggin on my Mind" b/w "Sit Down Baby." The tracks included guest appearances from Stubbs' old boss Charlie Musselwhite and North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson, and were issued by the Ohio-based Karma Chief label. By the end of 2019, GA-20 had followed up with their first full-length album, Lonely Soul, which also featured Musselwhite, Dickinson, and Prozialeck, along with the core trio of Stubbs, Faherty, and Anzalone. The album got a warm welcome from blues fans, debuting at number two on the national blues charts. By the time the album took off, GA-20 had a new lineup, with Tim Carman replacing Anzalone behind the drums.