You are hereMatt Andersen
Coming to the music of Matt Andersen relatively late, with the singer-songwriter already having one or two album releases out there, this New Brunswick-born performer's latest record COAL MINING BLUES reached the Northern Sky office only recently, but was received with no small measure of curious interest. Was the weathered figure on the cover our man from Perth-Andover? Could those coal-dusted hands on the reverse be the very ones that fingered the guitar so assuredly? These were questions that needed to be addressed immediately and further investigation was already underway before the end of the first play through.
With the aid of that most invaluable of modern tools, namely YouTube, we soon discover that Matt Andersen is an entirely different animal to that of Steve Smith, the coal miner model gracing the cover of the album and tonight, the big man himself found his way onto the Backroom stage at The Greystones in Sheffield and by all accounts not for the first time. That distinctive voice first heard coming from the speakers in the Northern Sky office a few months ago, was now being projected with such raw power from the Greystones stage.
Poised like the gentle giant he is, the seated singer/guitarist immediately demonstrated most of his performance characteristics before the first song was finished. During Make You Stay from the new record, Andersen had thrashed his guitar to within an inch of its life, thrown back and forth his Robert Plant-like locks with as much zeal as the former Led Zeppelin frontman himself, before reclining easily a couple of feet back in his chair to direct his big voice towards the ceiling in order to bellow out the final lyric, accomplishing in that single performance, the very essence of what this musician is all about - raw blues with a distinctly soulful delivery.
Much of Andersen's ninety-minute set centred around much of the material from his new album, Home Sweet Home, She Comes Down and the soul-drenched title song for instance. Earlier songs were represented by I Play the Fool for You and Andersen's autobiographical signature song One Size Never Fits both first heard on his album SECOND TIME AROUND together with a couple from the earlier record SOMETHING IN BETWEEN, Working Man Blues and Better Man Blues.
Towards the end of the set, Andersen chose a couple of covers to leave the audience even more mesmerised than they already were including the spine-tingling Springsteen song I'm On Fire and finally the beautiful Charlie Rich classic Feel Like Going Home, which also closes the new record, a record that deserves to be in every discerning music lover's collection.