One often hears Matt Andersen live performing solo and indeed the opening song does start with his trademark acoustic guitar strumming but The Mellotones quickly join in, telling us that this is a major big band concert event. The song is “Weightless” and what a performance it is: with piano, electric guitar, bass & drums, four horns and harmony vocals, this is about as far from a solo show as you can get. For all the help, though, Andersen’s distinctive and powerful vocals ride effortlessly over top. We also get beautifully arranged performances of “Alberta Gold”, “I Don’t Wanna Give In’, “What Will You Leave”, “Coal Mining Blues” and “My Last Day” – all from Weightless and Coal Mining Blues. There are two non-original songs here too: The Band’s “Ophelia” done so memorably in The Last Waltz and Don Nix’s “Going Down”, the relatively recent blues standard that is the first single. The concert was recorded in Halifax on November 22, 2014, before last year’s Honest Man. The Mellotones most certainly deserve mention: Jeffery Mosher on tenor sax; Jody Lyne, trumpet; Sean Weber, baritone sax; Eric Landry, trombone; Ian Mosher, keys; Mike Farrington Jr., bass; Damien Moynihan, drums and Brad Conrad on electric guitar & organ. Paul Rigby also adds guitar & mandolin and Lil Thomas guitar on “Going Down” and “Devil’s Bride”. That last, closing, song has long been in Andersen’s repertoire but seldom as well played as this. For all the excitement The Mellotones bring to these songs, it’s Andersen’s voice that will grab you – it’s no accident that he’s won so many male vocalist MBAs. He’ll be bringing his current solo show to Niagara-On-The-Lake on July 19 to the Jackson-Triggs Amphitheatre. The web site is www.stubbyfingers.com.

June 2018 - Steve Dawson
Loose Blues News - June 2018