Saturday, 4 February 2012

Review: Matt Andersen

Matt Andersen - Coal Mining Blues (Busted Flat)
Canadian Matt Andersen’s growing reputation on these shores has been largely based on his formidable technical prowess as a guitarist; but Coal Mining Blues, his new release on Busted Flat Records, reminds us he is no mean singer or songwriter either. His weathered, dust-lined vocal delivery is well-suited to Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio, and the support of formidable pros including Colin Linden (guitars), Dennis Pendrith (bass), Geoff Arsenault (drums) and an additional cast of keyboard and horn players (including a cameo appearance from Garth Hudson), serves him equally well on both hard times social commentary (the title track and ‘Lay it on the Line’), and on his more plaintive and personal songs (‘She Comes Down’). The mostly self-penned material is strong throughout, with stripped-back stand-out ‘Willies Diamond Joe’ saved until near the end, although the excellent closing rendition of Charlie Rich’s ‘Feel Like Going Home’ proves a fitting finale to a pretty fine album all round.
Neil B.

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