Matt Andersen is somewhat of a cult figure on the Canadian folk and blues music scene. Usually performing alone with just his guitar, he would sing songs that resonated with beauty, pain and loneliness. It was a good place to be. It is a place that Andersen seems to have outgrown, at least for the moment.
Andersen has added a full band, expanded his sound to the point of even adding a horn section, and taken to co-writing his tunes. None of this is truly surprising: many a blues man has tried to take the leap and transform themselves into a rock musician in hopes of reaching a wider audience. But was it a wise move? Sometimes the gamble works, and just as often it fails. In this case, the results are not too encouraging.
There are a few gems on this release. “Alberta Gold,” co-written with David Myles, is one of those. “What Will You Leave” and “Let You Down” are two more. The thing that these three tunes have in common is that it is easy to strip away the adornments and imagine them as acoustic offerings. They would probably be better that way, and that sums up my feelings about this album. If you are a Matt Andersen fan, you may still like Weightless. If you aren’t yet a fan, there are better ways to get to know his music.
By Bruce Pollock