Bluesman creating his best songs

Award-winning blues musician Matt Andersen is in the early stages of what promises to be a lengthy tour. His travels take him through Nanaimo’s Port Theatre tonight (Jan. 28).  - Photo Contributed
Award-winning blues musician Matt Andersen is in the early stages of what promises to be a lengthy tour. His travels take him through Nanaimo’s Port Theatre tonight (Jan. 28).
— image credit: Photo Contributed

When it’s all over, award winning blues artist Matt Andersen will have logged over 23,200 kilometres across North America.

The New Brunswick singer is currently in the beginning stages of a lengthy tour, which will see him perform at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo tonight (Jan. 28).

“I’ve never done my own show there,” Andersen said. “I am looking forward to having my own headlining show there.”

Andersen’s tour kicked off on Jan. 10, in Somerville, Mass., and has already taken him through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon and Washington State. His performance in Nanaimo is the first of four Island shows, which includes stops in Campbell River, Powell River and Victoria.

The New Brunswick native has been involved in music since an early age. Before his solo career and time with Flat Top, Andersen originally started out playing the tuba and the trumpet before progressing to the guitar.

“On the East coast music is a big part of the culture. There were always musical instruments around,” Andersen said. “I started out in school bands playing horns.”

Andersen then moved on to the guitar when he was 14 years old. He said his influences include artists such as Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton.

“The Eric Clapton acoustic album was one of the first albums I really fell in love with when I first started,” Andersen said.

On Feb. 4, Andersen, whose cover of Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ has received over 900,000 views on YouTube, will release his newest album, Weightless to True North Records.

“I really feel like these are some of the best songs I’ve written for sure,” he said. “They are all co-written and I did that to keep myself from sounding like myself.”

Two of the songs on Andersen’s newest record are co-writes with fellow Maritime musician, Joel Plaskett.

“I’ve never spent a whole lot of time with Joel so it was really cool to work with him and finally make that connection,” Andersen said. “We hit it off really well. We’re a couple of music geeks so for the first couple of hours we sat there and played each other tunes.”

Although, Andersen is a blues artist he said he wouldn’t stand beside B.B. King and tell him that he is a blues artist.

“The blues is definitely a big influence in what I do … but I grew up with all different kinds of music. There is lots of country in there, lots of folk stuff and classic rock as well,” he said. “My vocals lend more towards the blues and soul.”

Andersen, is no stranger to winning awards. In 2013 he took home the European Blues Award for Best Solo/Acoustic Act and in 2012 he won three Maple Blues Awards.

“It’s really nice to get that kind of recognition from the industry and from fans too,” Andersen said. “I love the ones where fans voted for me . . . I don’t put a whole lot of weight into them. I don’t do anything to get awards but it is always nice to get that recognition.”

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