Matt Andersen

Key to the Highway: Matt Andersen

Interviews Key to the Highway Series

Matt Andersen photo by Colin Robertson

Matt Andersen — Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell.  Here’s one from Matt Andersen.

Americana Highways: How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?

Matt Andersen: I go for more sleep over waking up early to have a coffee. I’ve never much enjoyed it, or tea. My go to when I get on the go is a big glass of water before I head out the door.

AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road for music?)

MA: Most interesting? I’ve stayed in a farm house in the English countryside where Lord Nelson would head to for a getaway. I’ve stayed in an apartment in Eindhoven, NL that Townes Van Zandt used when he would tour over there. Always cool to be in a place that has a history. Not all do, some are just wacky and uncomfortable, like a hotel I had just outside Milan where the shower door wouldn’t open all the way without hitting the toilet.

AH: If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?

MA: Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace. I turn to that album often for inspiration and am always catching something I haven’t before. It’s full of moments that I can listen to again and again.

AH: What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?

MA: My fan. It’s a six inch fan that will fit on a hotel night stand. I always have a fan on at home when I sleep, so having this makes a strange room feel a little more familiar. It also keeps me from having to crank the AC and helps drown out the hotel noise.

AH: What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favourite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?

MA: Traveling gives me the opportunity to have the best/authentic version of just about any food I could want. I try to take in what would be a “classic” dish for the area I’m in. Brisket in Texas, haggis in Scotland, schnitzel in Germany, smoked meat in Montreal… it’s so great to be able walk into a place that has been around for years and has perfected what’s on their menu. One of my go to’s on the road is Pho. Nothing better than a big bowl of soup and noodles for a weary traveller.

AH: If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?

MA: Italy. Anytime I’ve been there it has been a one nighter, in and out. We had a gorgeous drive in and out of Milan, saw some beautiful country. I would love to go back and be able to take my time going through and actually get to see what we had to pass by. I’m also a bit of a history buff, Italy would be an amazing place to get a sense of how the world used to turn.

AH: What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?

MA: David Francey told me, “Don’t book flights that mean you have to leave your hotel before check out time.” I’ve always taken that as a more broad bit of advice, to not hurt yourself out there. It can all blow by pretty quick if you don’t take the time to slow things down and let the moments sink in.

Find all things Matt Andersen here:

See other Key to the Highway interviews here: (click here for: Ben Nichols Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Nicki Bluhm Jim White Danny Barnes  Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt  Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Sadler Vaden )

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