Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Concert Review: Matt Andersen, Showplace Theatre, Peterborough, Ontario -- Nov. 6, 2011

I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for musicians/singer-songwriters that have the God-given ability to sit in the middle of the stage with no accompaniment except for their own guitar and essentially own the crowd.  It has to be the toughest, most difficult task any performer could choose to endure with only the strong surviving the experience.  However, the superior performers seem to thrive on this challenge.

Such was the case on November 6, 2011 at the Showplace Theatre in Peterborough, Ontario where I had the great fortune to attend the Matt Andersen show.  Recalling the album review piece, Live at the Phoenix Theatre, I was looking forward to an evening of astounding entertainment and musicianship.  When the stage hands come out to set the equipment just right and they’re gone in the span of 30 seconds, leaving only a guitar, an empty guitar stand, a chair, a mike and two monitors behind, it looks very intriguing.  It’s either going to be really good, or it may not work out so well.

Matt Andersen quite clearly and emphatically falls in the former category and is an outstanding musician.  His strong voice and strong song writing make him one of the finest up-and-coming artists in Canada today with a wonderfully bright future ahead of him.  Performing familiar songs from previous releases on Busted Flat Records such as “When My Angel Gets the Blues”, “One Size Never Fits” and signature song “Round and Round”, the Peterborough crowd was treated to a sneak preview of two new songs from his just released Coal Miner’s Blues album.

Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, New York and produced by Colin Linden, he of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Coal Miner’s Blues will take Matt’s career to another level.  The title track is so well written and receives such wonderful vocal and instrumental treatment from Matt that it will eventually take its rightful place alongside the other great classics from the east coast of Canada that pay homage to the unbelievably tough occupation of coal-mining.  This song will stand the test of time and is a piece of work that Matt and Colin can be very proud of.

Attending a Matt Andersen concert really is nothing short of spectacular.  While I have talked about his songwriting and vocal abilities, the real highlight of his show is the other-worldly guitar playing of this mountain of a man.  Blues guitar is among the toughest styles of guitar playing there is.  Matt Andersen takes blues guitar to a whole new level that very few musicians could ever dare to reach.  Entirely acoustic, there were many times I thought the strings were going to snap off the instrument from Andersen's furious playing style -- a style that is all his own and it works for Matt flawlessly.  

Simply put, when you attend a Matt Andersen performance you will be sharing space with one of the greatest guitar players of our time.  Matt's fall tour continues this Friday November 18 with two shows this weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia, followed by performances in St. John and Moncton, New Brunswick.  Visit Matt's web site for more tour dates, purchase CD's and all other things Matt.

1 comment:

  1. super enjoyed your review. I agree with the comments about his astounding ability to hold an audience in the palm of his hand with only an acoustic guitar. You might be interested to see what he can do on an electric guitar with a full band... he just toys with us - he is that good he makes it seems ridiculously easy. I filmed these 3 videos at New Glasgow Julilee Fest Aug 2012 - ENJOY!ENJOY!
    Make You Stay -
    So Gone Now - (great a capella on this one!)
    Devil's Bride -