WEEKEND: Noted Canadian bluesman Andersen to perform in Port Angeles on Sunday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — One may wonder: What made Matt Andersen, the big bear of a blues singer, name his new album “Weightless”?

In the briefest of interviews from McPherson, Kan., a stop on his 60-date tour, Andersen explained.

Being weightless is about making a leap of faith. Putting it all out there.

That’s what this young man has always wanted to do with music — and his fans have responded. Andersen is well-known for his scorching performances, including the sold-out show he did here last year.

Andersen and his guitar will arrive for a 4:30 p.m. show Sunday at the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. Tickets are $17 via the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts, www.JFFA.org, and at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles, and Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim.

Andersen began singing the blues in nightclubs — well, “the bar scene,” he calls it — 11 years ago. He was a 22-year-old logger’s son from Perth-Andover, a rural town in the maritime province of New Brunswick.

Andersen chose the blues for its honesty, and for its power to convey emotion. He estimates 200 shows a year for a good eight years now, in clubs, theaters and festivals across the continent. In 2010, he became the first Canadian to have won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and has recorded a half-dozen albums now, including “One Size Never Fits” and “Coal Mining Blues,” recorded at the Levon Helm Studio in Woodstock, N.Y.

That record is studded with songs of love and desire, such as “I Don’t Wanna Give In”:

I hear them calling to me

Be what we want you to be

… But oh, I don’t wanna give in

We don’t need to be a part of it all

We don’t have to fit in. There’s more to life than being one of the crowd …

They’ve got the paper and pen

They tell me that they’re my friends

From now until the deal ends

They’ve got the paper

But I, oh I, I don’t wanna give …

That’s followed by “Fired Up”:

I’m running nonstop day after day

I’ve got it all spent with nothing left to pay

I hear you coming from a mile away

Oh, how I love that sound

I tossed all my wishes down the wishing well

Spoke my last words with nothing left to tell

You came along to catch me just before I fell

You are my saving grace

Andersen lives for that moment of connection with his listeners.

“The payoff for the long drives, the gas-station sandwiches,” he said, comes when he shares his music.

And with “Weightless” to be released this April, Andersen is reveling in the new songs. On this tour, between now and May, he’ll go to the expected places: Seattle, Portland, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver. He’ll also come to Aberdeen in Grays Harbor County, and to remote Campbell River, B.C. His itinerary, which extends to July’s Worldfest in Grass Valley, Calif., can be seen, along with video footage of Andersen, on his www.StubbyFingers.ca website.

As for Port Angeles, the singer remembers it well.

“It was a great crowd last time,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Last modified: January 23. 2014 6:52PM
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