Category: matt andersen

Single release: ‘Still Waters’ by The Hello Darlins feat. Matt Andersen

HDStillWaters-singlecoverThe Hello Darlins are a Canadian band with members of exceptional pedigree: Calgary-based vocalist/producer Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer Mike Little (known as MFL). They are both in-demand session musicians, and six years after first meeting at a recording studio, they formed The Hello Darlins. The band also includes several other experienced and respected Canadian musicians.

‘We thought it would be fun to put together a band with long-time, professional musicians who are often the people “behind the songs” you hear on the radio,’ says Lacina. ‘It’s a “collective” – with friends and special guests. It’s like the Broken Social Scene of Americana.’

The Hello Darlins’ new single, ‘Still Waters’, is a slice of musical perfection. There is a finely tuned balance of elements, and of voices – Lacina along with an appearance by revered singer-songwriter Matt Andersen – that is no doubt due to the experience of the artists involved, restraint so often being the result of learning to edit your own work.

The Hello Darlins have plans to release an album but they are on hold for the time being – as so much is – but this song is so lovely it can be listened to over and over, so that may well tide fans over until the album is released.

 

Apple Music | Spotify

 

thehellodarlins.com

Album review: Halfway Home by Morning by Matt Andersen

71ay4hcxUWL._SY355_.jpgCanadian singer-songwriter Matt Andersen has long had a voice that sounded like it belonged to someone far older, saturated in life’s experiences and prepared to share them. Since Andersen is now up to his tenth album, perhaps he and his voice are travelling in tandem – and on Halfway Home by Morning they certainly sound like a comfortably united pair.

Andersen’s sound is soul and blues and rock and Americana, and his voice handles all of those genres effortlessly, as well as being one of those voices that sounds as though it comes straight from the past, present and future. Halfway Home by Morning is 13 songs of emotion, honesty and connection, with each line made more heartfelt by the delivery of it – by Andersen and the outstanding band and backing singers who appear with him.

The album was recorded live in Nashville, and that energy gives the songs a warmth that could have been lost if each track had been recorded individually. It also seems to give it an air of celebration – not that the songs are all celebratory (Andersen does a very fine ballad), but as if you’re at an hour-long party with the best possible entertainment.

Andersen and his band are constantly on the move – no Australian dates have been announced in the near future, but should he make his way back to these shores, Halfway Home by Morning suggests it would a performance absolutely worth taking in.

Halfway Home by Morning is out now on True North Records via MGM.

Apple Music | Spotify

www.stubbyfingers.ca

Album review: Honest Man by Matt Andersen

Canadian artist Matt Andersen’s last album, Weightless, was a blues tour de force, and it sounded like Andersen’s voice was made for the genre. On his latest album, Honest Man, it turns out that blues wasn’t the only type of music that suits him. Honest Man has influences from gospel and soul, and Andersen sounds even more comfortable with those, if that’s possible. 

As befits those genres, this album often sounds almost joyous – it is definitely weighted towards songs in major keys. The title track is a gutsy tune whose lyrics are darker than its tone – frankly, it’s a toe-tapper and it took a little while to realise that the lyrics are more about being downtrodden than lifted up.
Andersen gives expression to the lower reaches of his voice – in notes and emotion – on the dirge-like ‘I’m Giving In’, which is the most arresting song on the album, showcasing the range of his vocal ability. ‘Last Surrender’ is a slow swing seduction and ‘One Good Song’ is a beautiful closing track about what is sacrificed in the pursuit of a life in music.
This is an incredibly accessible album – it doesn’t require knowledge of gospel or soul (or blues, because there’s a still a bit of that) to appreciate it, and Andersen’s voice always sounds like an invitation, because it’s big and warm and open. For fans who prefer the depths of the blues, this album won’t reinforce any bad-moodyness – but nor will it sound so unfamiliar that it can’t be enjoyed. And for those who are new to Andersen, it’s an excellent introduction.

Honest Man is out now.
www.stubbyfingers.ca

Interview: Matt Andersen

Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Andersen has swapped the frozen north for the humid south this summer, and recently I asked him a via questions via email ahead of his Australian tour – dates are at the bottom of the interview. And you can read my review of his album Weightless here.

If you were to name one artist as your most influential musical ancestor, who would it be?
John Fogerty is at the top for me.  I love his writing, playing and singing.  He’s one of the best combinations of artist and performer.

You sing songs about community, and stories which come from your community – so who was your most influential non-musical ancestor?
My grandfather had a big influence on me.  He was a musician but never took a dime for playing.  He always said, “as long as there is somebody wanting to listen there should be someone playing”.  He was always the last one to stop playing when the family and friends got together.  Aside from that, just how he put his family first was a lesson for me.  He always worked hard to take care of his family.  Working at whatever he had to so he could provide. He always had time for his family.  Us grandkids could do no wrong with him.

Your voice is a really mature instrument – and you sing in such a way that it sounds like you’re giving everything you have. Yet you play guitar at the same time – does that ever get tricky? Does your voice ever demand complete attention? 
I rarely get to just sing.  I’m usually performing solo and have to hold down the guitar and vocals.  I wouldn’t say that it gets tricky but it is nice to be able to just let go of the guitar at times and focus on my voice.  If I’m playing as well it just means I need to focus a little harder.

How old were you when that voice emerged, and was it a surprise? 
I always sang as a kid.  I can’t really say when my voice came out.  It wasn’t something I was even aware of, it was just something I always did.

At what age did you start performing, and was it solo or in a band? 
I would sing with the family as a child, at church and home.  I was also in school bands, starting in grade 5 and going all the way to the end of high school. I started playing in public when I was 20.  Playing in an acoustic duo at the local pubs.

Are you coming to Australia with a band? 
I’ll be solo on this run.  I would say I perform 95% of my shows solo.  I’ve started taking the band out every once in a while, but still quite rare that I do.

You’re heading to Australia during our summertime, leaving the cold Maritimes behind – was this a conscious decision to escape winter? 
Nope, just a beneficial coincidence.   Wintertime is a slow time for outdoor events for obvious reasons.  It’s great to be able to travel to where there is lots of opportunity to play to some larger crowds this time of year.  The warm weather is just a bonus.

Matt Andersen is touring Australia:

Jan 04 – Brisbane, Australia – The Milk Factory

Jan 08 – Newtown, Australia – Vanguard
Jan 09 – Cronulla, Australia – Brass Monkey
Jan 10 – Melbourne, Australia – Flying Saucer Club
Jan 11 – Thornbury, Australia – Thornbury Theatre
Jan 18 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
All tickets and information available at: http://stubbyfingers.ca/tour

Album review: Weightless by Matt Andersen

Matt Andersen is not a country artist – it’s important to state that, as this is a country music blog. But it’s also impossible to ignore Andersen’s music and voice. From the first song on his latest album, Breathless, Andersen commands attention. His stated genre is blues; however, it seems as though ‘soul’ could just as easily be applied, simply because Andersen has a lot of it. There is depth and grit and feeling on these songs, and a sense of flow from one track to the next that makes the album an almost hypnotic listening experience.

Andersen hails from the Maritime Provinces of Canada – New Brunswick, to be specific – and it’s not hard to imagine that he’s had access to some of the rich Scottish and Irish musical traditions that are vibrantly alive in that region thanks to the calibre of musicians working there. There is history in his voice – and not just because he sings with such authority that he sounds like he’s about fifty years older than he actually is – and also a sense of ease at being a singer and bandleader. No musician – no songwriter – emerges from a vacuum, and Andersen sounds like the rightful inheritor of a whole lot of blues and folk traditions that have shaped him and his songs. Those traditions are in very safe hands.

Breathless (True North Records) is out now.
www.stubbyfingers.ca