Matt Andersen is not a country artist – it’s important to state that, as this is a country music blog. But it’s also impossible to ignore Andersen’s music and voice. From the first song on his latest album, Breathless, Andersen commands attention. His stated genre is blues; however, it seems as though ‘soul’ could just as easily be applied, simply because Andersen has a lot of it. There is depth and grit and feeling on these songs, and a sense of flow from one track to the next that makes the album an almost hypnotic listening experience.
Andersen hails from the Maritime Provinces of Canada – New Brunswick, to be specific – and it’s not hard to imagine that he’s had access to some of the rich Scottish and Irish musical traditions that are vibrantly alive in that region thanks to the calibre of musicians working there. There is history in his voice – and not just because he sings with such authority that he sounds like he’s about fifty years older than he actually is – and also a sense of ease at being a singer and bandleader. No musician – no songwriter – emerges from a vacuum, and Andersen sounds like the rightful inheritor of a whole lot of blues and folk traditions that have shaped him and his songs. Those traditions are in very safe hands.
Breathless (True North Records) is out now.