True Canadian blues 

Matt Andersen brings soulful fusion of roots, blues and rock ā€™nā€™ roll to Whistler on heels of win at International Blues Challenge


Who: Matt Andersen

When: Wednesday, April 14, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Cost: $22 adults, $19 students & seniors, $16 WAC members

Hailing from a tiny town in New Brunswick, Matt Andersen has a larger-than-life stage presence. Booming vocals and powerful, boot-stomping guitar riffs combine to make him one of the most captivating roots/blues musicians that Canada has ever produced.

Last Friday he headed back out on tour, promoting his latest album, Piggyback , a collaborative project with harmonica virtuoso Mike Stevens.

"We did all those tunes, I think maybe we each had one tune on our own, and then the rest was co-written. We've both been sitting on tunes for a long time, we kind of had lots of ideas bottled up, and that's where it came from and really they're just experiences we've had," he explained.

Andersen always seems to be collaborating with other artists, a process that keeps things fresh for not only the listener, but himself, as well, offering up the opportunity to feed off of others' energy and ideas.

"I really just like working with other people," he said, simply. "...I love doing that kind of stuff, getting new ideas."

Over the span of his musical career, Andersen has released an introductory EP along with two critically-acclaimed collections of live fan favorites, while his full-length studio releases, Second Time Around and Something In-Between , garnered two East Coast Music Awards for Male Solo Artist of the Year and Blues Recording of the Year.

Of course, classic blues and roots tunes aren't always the most upbeat, feel-good songs. And there are definitely some darker, twangy tracks, like Devil's Bride, featured on this new album.

You throw me water when I'm drowning, you take my kingdom when I'm cold, you give me matches when I'm burnin', you give me pennies for my gold. You've got a heart as hard as diamonds, it shines like a piece of coal, buried deep in the ground like your cold, black soul."

"That song," Andersen laughed, "I had the first couple lines for a long time, and then Mike and I sat down and bounced different ideas around about somebody really giving you a hard time."

He pauses, then laughs again.

"It's about a woman, really."

All told, this album actually represents Andersen's live show, true to form.

Andersen spent the fall touring the East Coast with Stevens, went to Memphis to compete in a prestigious music competition, had a few solo shows in Ontario after that, toured with another very talented musician, Wil, for a bit, then took a short break at home before heading out on the road again for a month-long tour. All told, he estimates that he's out on the road roughly 80 per cent of the year.


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