Matt Andersen is not well known in the USA at this time, although there might be a few people who have somehow encountered this giant of a man; that however should change with this new release. He is on a major cross-Canadian tour and he has released a new disc recorded at Levon Helm's Studio in Woodstock, NY. This new CD is produced by Colin Linden (another Canadian who now resides in Nashville) and features special contributions at various times by Amy Helm on vocals, The McCrary Sisters on vocals, Garth Hudson on accordion, Jonell Mosser on vocals, and Jim Horn on the saxes.
The real feature here is Andersen's voice and phrasing. The well known names make a valuable contribution to the disc, however he can hold his own vocally with any of his friends. He has a voice that can stop you in your tracks, listen to the title song and you can feel the flow of tragic emotion and then listen to constrained rocker I Work Hard For The Luxury, it is an empathy that draws from a deep soul. The voice is larger and cleaner than you would ever imagine, as large as that endless blue sky that Montana brags about, a true blessing.
This disc should put his name into much bigger lights in the US and bring him some well-deserved recognition. This singer songwriter, wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve songs on this disc, add that to Colin Linden producing and this very strong cast of players supporting him. The title track, Coal Mining Blues, tells the story of life that is never far from the dangers of the job, and the risk that effect life long after the work has ended. Yet he does this with a grace and beauty that both belies the struggles, the strife and potential disaster and at the same time displays the beauty of who work so hard for the small luxuries in life.
This is a disc that will open your ears and let you into the songs that flow from our brethren north of a line that separates our two countries.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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