Canadian bluesman Matt Andersen is only days away from the release of his eighth album Honest Man, the release date of which coincides with Andersen’s Winnipeg gig at the Burton Cummings Theatre on Feb. 26th.
Honest Man is the follow-up to Andersen’s Juno award-nominated album Weightless. Andersen’s been the recipient of a few awards lately, including Male Vocalist of the Year at the 19th Annual Maple Blues Awards for the second year in a row, which brings his total trophy count to four.
Honest Man was produced in New York by Gordon “Commissioner Gordon” Williams, who has worked with artists such as KRS-One, Amy Winehouse, and Lauryn Hill.
“He has a great knack for knowing just what a song needs,” Andersen told the Manitoban.
“He never added too much. Everything that was added to a song was always supportive, and never distracting. He was very positive to work with, and was always open to ideas, and [to] let things happen organically.”
Andersen grew up in a musical family. His grandfather played the fiddle, his mother plays the piano, and he has many cousins that play guitar and sing. Growing up, Andersen was in band at school, starting off with tuba then moving on to trumpet.
It wasn’t until the age of 14 that Andersen picked up a guitar and began teaching himself to play by watching and listening to other players. Andersen soaked up any and all musical influences, from his brother’s classic rock collection, to his parent’s country music, to his grandfather’s fiddle and gospel tunes.
Matt Andersen – Honest Man
With every song on Honest Man, the listener is guaranteed some powerful vocals. The album is quite diverse but makes for a relaxing listen. This is helped in part by the album’s amazing production.
Andersen’s feel-good lyrics are set perfectly to tracks full of soul with horn sections, groovy percussion, organ, and sublime guitar.
The title track is an upbeat, soul-influenced number featuring saxophone leads backed by a roaring horn section, and a choir singing, “who’s got time for an honest man?”
“Honest Man” the song makes you want to dance, and due to the full instrumentation and pristine quality, it feels like you are at a live show.
“Giving In” features just Andersen’s voice with piano accompaniment. This track in particular gives listeners the opportunity to truly appreciate Andersen’s pure, yet raspy vocals.
For a change of pace, “Quiet Company” sports country feel with crickets opening the track and a haunting lap steel from beginning to end.
Further demonstrating Andersen’s diverse influences, “Last Surrender” is a love song that sounds like a classic Motown hit, once again prominently showcasing strong vocals and the perfect groove, with lyrics made to be sung along to.
Overall, Honest Man is the perfect easy-listening album with consistently strong vocals and a variety of song styles and paces rooted firmly in R&B and soul.
Tickets to Matt Andersen’s Winnipeg show are $35 plus fees in advance, and may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca