Matt Andersen releases his 7th studio album ‘Honest Man’ quickly followed by a UK / Ireland & European solo tour. Matt, for those unfamiliar with him, is a hard grafting, acoustic, R&B blues, singer – songwriter from Newbrunswick Canada. A vastly experienced musician amassing accolades in his wake; Juno award nominated for ‘Weightless’ in his native Canada, two European Blues Awards and Winner of Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge beating off finalists from 11 different countries and 5 continents. You can understand when I say there is real pedigree here.
I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to talk with Matt regarding ‘Honest Man’ and his upcoming tour. Striving for an understanding of how this mesmerising musician came to be. I’ll share a little of that interview as I go through my review of this truly astounding album.
You can read that full interview here – http://www.rock-n-load.com/matt-andersen-full-interview-honest-man-european-tour/
The album opens with ‘Break Away’ an uplifting and addictive little ditty that beautifully leads you into this master class of song writing. Right away you understand where Matt wants to take you with ‘Honest Man’, laying down sumptuous acoustic rhythms with big hooks and glorious vocals just add cherry’s to an already appetising cake. Speaking with Matt regarding working with legendary producer Commissioner Gordon he said “Working with someone of that experience, and he’s worked with some really cool people, ( Santana, Quincy Jones Etc ) every producer brings their own flavour, he pushed me in a direction I wouldn’t have found on my own, I love that in a producer.”
The quality of workmanship on this album is easy to hear, both artist and producer have brought out the best of each other, and that is a beautiful thing! As you move through the tracks ‘The gift’ emphasises how a simple groove and sublime, smooth vocals can move mountains, no complicated overlays or effects but the finest quality musicianship at the fore. ‘Honest Man’, with its bluesy grind, takes it to another level. A tasty vocal delivery and brass horns added in for a little magic brings Matt back to his bluesy best.
Wondering how Matt reached such airy heights in terms of quality, beyond years of hard graft, and wanting to understand where he got the musical itch from, he explained “ I come from a musical family, it’s a big part of the culture here. Locally were are surrounded by French & Celtic influences, Granddad played fiddle and mom played piano. A lot of my cousins sang and played also, so we were always surrounded by family jams when we got together.”
That ease of musicianship which flows throughout ‘Honest Man’ is apparent in its effortless nature, ‘I’m Giving In’ one of the albums highlights is a powerful ballad, beautiful in its simplicity with Matt accompanying a piano. The overwhelming essence of this album encapsulated in just one song. ‘Quiet company’ again transcends you away from all the cares in the world with a delicate, soft flowing melody. ‘Let’s Get Back’ a tune Gordon sparked with Matt by laying down a drum beat for him to follow. Speaking of the recording experience Matt told me “I don’t tend to have a lot of pre-production done, I try to let things happen organically. I tend to find that if I think about it too much it restrains the creative process.”
Bluesy cues with ‘All The Way’ and old time qualities in ‘Last Surrender’ highlight once again Matt’s vocals prowess, just before ‘Who Are You Listening To?’ grabs you up off your ass for a classic rock influenced number. Wrapping up with the sumptuous ‘One Good Song’- a song Matt enjoys playing live. It speaks of that broken musician on the road pounding the miles hoping for that one good song, “Chasing the dream down the highway, Just a junkie looking a score”
Matt certainly has pounded the highways in his years, playing 200 odd live shows a year, touring with some of the best names in the business as well as solo tours. Upcoming is a hectic schedule in 2017; a US / Canada tour taking him up to May when he hits Europe, starting off in Dublin. Matt told me “ It’s always great to get back to places you’ve been before building on that fan-base, spreading the word is definitely the goal. I’ve played Ireland before and look forward to getting back as we are playing new countries, I’m really looking forward to it.”
I cant help but think of the euphoria that swept the globe with the likes of Jack Johnson & Passenger, both exceptional singer song writers in their own right, with their easy flowing melodic styles. If anyone was deserving of such euphoria its Matt Andersen, his latest offering is the perfect catalyst for that to happen, a stunning album from start to finish.
Honest Man is available now and ticket for his upcoming European Tour can be sourced on the links below.
Matt Andersen – May 2017 UK Tour Book Tickets – www.mattandersen.ca/tour
The Grand Social, Dublin Thursday 18 May
Fochabers Public Institute, Fochabers Village, Scotland
Friday 19 May 15 High St, Fochabers, Inverness, IV32 7EP Box Office – 01343 821 325 www.morayvillagehalls.org.uk/hallhire/fochabers.html
Sunday 21 May Tickets – http://bit.ly/2jmSEo1 Box Office – 01224 641 122 Carnegies Brae, Aberdeen, AB10 1BF www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/partner-venues/the-tunnels
The Mash House, Edinburgh
Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
The Borderline, London