Hailing from Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, Matt Andersen is an outrageously talented guitarist and songwriter who has busted onto the music scene with mammoth force. With an impressive seven albums under his belt, including three studio recordings, three live albums and a Christmas record, he is set to release his fourth studio recording Weightless on February 4, 2014.
Weightless is Andersen’s debut album with his new label True North Records (the longest standing record label in Canada) and was produced with Steve Berlin, who has also produced the likes of The Tragically Hip, Faith No More and Deer Tick.
“This album is different from my other work for a few reasons,” says Andersen, who holds his own beside blues legends like Joe Cocker, with the modern swag that Michael Kiwanuka possesses. “It’s definitely the best representation of who I am now as a writer and performer. It is also all co-writes, which I have never done before. And using a full band makes it a bigger production than I’ve done in the past.”
The album boosts a wide array of sounds including, bluegrass, gospel, country and roots. The track, “I Lost my Way,” has a soul and gospel sound with a reggae vibe, which previews “So Easy,” a powerful country ballad. Andersen backs up his booming voice with the deep layering that only a full band can provide, making Weightless an enjoyable adventure through many different soundscapes.
When asked how he made the album sound so cohesive despite the merriment of different genres, Andersen says, “I worked with a lot of different, talented, people on this album but I was always the centrepiece of each song. By co-writing, singing and performing each song, we were able to make it sound like one person singing a lot of different styles.” The dimension that Weightless showcases is refreshing when so many albums in the roots world consist of 12 tracks that sound irritatingly identical.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Andersen’s mighty music career is his dedication to touring and showcasing his music using live music as a platform. In 2012, Andersen played an astonishing 200 shows. From festivals, to large stadiums, to small intimate venues, he uses his commanding stage presence and natural talent to woo audiences on a global scale. He is playing over 75 shows in the next few months, touring his new record across the United States, Canada, the U.K. and, eventually, Australia. When asked how he keeps grounded and focused despite a rigorous tour schedule, he says, “I am truly doing what I love. I am so passionate about music that it never feels like work. I am always enjoying what I do.”
Matt Andersen has proven himself as an authority in both the Canadian music scene and in the roots world. Weightless is 45 minutes of powerful sound that leaves listeners in awe of Matt Andersen, and leaves other blues singers the formidable task of creating music on the same level.
Be sure to catch Matt Andersen at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music (Edmonton) on February 6 and at the Jack Singer Concert Hall (Calgary) on February 9.
By Kayla Beattie