Matt Andersen – House To House
With a deep soulful voice somewhere between Solomon Burke-lite & a swinging Brook Benton this young man has some serious bluesy tones, good intonation & does it with limited instrumentation on his first all-acoustic-solo LP that includes the fine “Other Side of Goodbye.”
This stripped-down set features well-written songs on acoustic guitar. Canadian guitarist Matt Andersen with a latter-day guitar-legend Leslie West appearance wrote/co-wrote & produced the 12-tunes on his House To House (Stubby Fingers/Sonic Records-Drops March 4). Matt never loses his power or momentum on this back-to-basics set.
Even on slow ballads like “Let Me Hold You,” with a slightly different tonality Matt maintains a sibilance of quiet strength. Usually, Andersen’s in a blues-fast lane but here he shows another side of his creative endeavors. His ability to interpret through lyrical intimacy & musical poignancy is the embodiment of his artistic qualities.
“Time For The Wicked To Rest,” is gospel-stirred & has jubilation transmitted through his vocal sensitivity. I could just imagine how righteously thick this tune could be with the Edwin Hawkins Singers adding backup vocals (Listen to “Oh, Happy Day” – a big hit in the 60s). But, on this Andersen has some soulful dynamite with The Smiths: Reeny, Micha & Mahalia who are superb.
Other songs have that reliable & tasteful vocal assistance but for the most part, Matt’s on his own. “House To House,” has a chorus melody that dips into the Townes van Zandt songbook with the spirit of the late John Prine. But that only means these songs are cousins. Performance? Matt’s splendid. And may even be part of the van Zandt-Prine musician club than any other.
One song was co-written by Tom Wilson, “Burning Lights,” & I assume this is the equally deep-voiced Canadian singer who has a great solo career & played with a band called Junkhouse, as well as Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Andersen is in good company. Wilson’s songs have been covered by many notable singers. With “Burning Lights,” it’s quite a vibrant performance. Matt’s voice is varied & strong.
“All We Need,” is the most rousing cut on the LP. Andersen really percolates with the backup singers. What’s commendable is that Matt avoids cliches, & seldom sings songs typical of more commercial singers. He certainly mixes his repertoire up with skill & even his covers are played with inspiring style. He doesn’t cruise, he takes curves at top speed with grit & mettle.
Did I mention he sings exceptionally well? Yeah, I think I did.
First color image by Colin Robertson & second color photo at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa by Ziggy. The 40-minute CD is available @ https://www.stubbyfingers.ca/