On Stage Extra: Matt Andersen at City Winery for rare Tuesday night show

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Matt Andersen

Mondays and Tuesdays are tough days for live music shows.

Some venues such as Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester, Jamey’s House of Music in Lansdowne and Kennett Flash rarely have shows during the early part of the week.

Fans frequently spend Mondays recuperating from the weekend and Tuesdays getting ready for the rest of the week.

They are not ideal days for a concert – especially now with the advent of colder weather.

But that does not mean there aren’t good shows on the early week schedule.

This week, for example, there is a very appealing show at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, www.citywinery.com) when the Center City venue hosts a concert on October 24 featuring Matt Andersen with Adam Baldwin as the opening act.

A powerhouse performer with a giant, soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Andersen has built a formidable following the old-fashioned way — touring worldwide and letting his audiences spread the good word of his righteous tunes. As a result, he has amassed more than 18 million views on YouTube.

In addition to headlining major festivals, clubs and theatres throughout North America, Europe and Australia, Andersen has shared the stage and toured with Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Greg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Bachman, Little Feat, Jonny Lang, Serena Ryder, and more.

The Nova Scotia resident won the 2013 and 2016 European Blues Award for Best Solo/Acoustic Act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, and was the first ever Canadian to take home top honors in the solo/duo category at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Following numerous sold-out shows in his native Canada, a spring tour with Tab Benoit, and a summer run with Devon Allman and Donavon Frankenreiter, Andersen is planning a fall U.S. headline tour, supporting his latest album, “The Big Bottle of Joy.”

Released earlier this year, “The Big Bottle of Joy” is a collection of 12 exhilarating songs that pulse with blues, rock, Americana, and gospel energy. Andersen’s masterful vocals are at their best, striking the perfect balance of unbridled power and soulful quietness. The album has earned raves for the accomplished musician and lyricist.

This solo tour will feature Anderson performing an acoustic show. Ahead of the dates, Andersen is releasing a video for “Shoes,” the romantic album closing track about finding balance in a relationship when partners are sadly out of sync.

“I recorded the new album in Halifax at the end of the pandemic,” said Andersen, during a recent phone interview from his home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

“That band came from the pandemic. It was all musicians from Nova Scotia – all from Halifax.”

Andersen enjoyed making music with his fellow Haligonians.

“It was a lot of fun – like sitting around a supper table,” said Andersen “But I don’t bring any of them on the road because of the cost of touring.

“The album was recorded in the spring of 2021, but some of the songs were older. I made it at Sonic Temple in Halifax. Then, it sat on the shelf for a long time because of COVID – because I couldn’t tour during the pandemic.”

The Halifax connection had an effect on the songs.

“This was the first time I went into recording knowing who the musicians would be,” said Andersen. “I wrote for them specifically. It definitely gave me a different approach to writing.

“I toured the album this spring in Canada with my band. But I didn’t take the band to the states. It’s the same with this tour. This is just me and my guitar.

“I’ve been lucky with my career in the U.S. I’ve gotten certain pockets where I’ve done great. Also, with this kind of music, you don’t need airplay.

“I had another album out prior to this – a solo album. I recorded it after the band album, but it came out before the band album was released. It was my first solo recording in 15-20 years – and my first album of all originals. I recorded it at my home studio, and I came out late spring 2022.”

Andersen is known as one of Canada’s hardest-working musicians, averaging around 200 live performances per year. Specializing in an earthy blend of blue-collar folk, electric blues, and roots rock, the New Brunswick native began his musical career in 2002 with the group Flat Top. He issued his solo debut, “Second Time Around,” in 2007, followed in 2008 by “Something in Between” and in 2009 by “Piggyback,” the latter of which was a collaboration with acclaimed harmonica player Mike Stevens.

That same year he issued his first concert album, “Live from the Phoenix Theatre,” and later his first collection of holiday music, “Christmas Time.” A pair of studio albums, “Push Record” (with Mike Stevens) and “Coal Miner Blues,” followed in 2011.

“Weightless,” which was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, was released in 2014 and was his debut long-player for the True North label. It earned Andersen a Juno nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. For his follow-up, he traveled to New York, working with producer Commissioner Gordon (Winehouse, Joss) to record 2016’s “Honest Man.” The concert album “Live at Olympic Hall” appeared in 2018, and featured Andersen backed by his band the Mellotones at the historic Halifax, Nova Scotia venue.

“I got into the blues just from hearing it,” said Andersen. “My brother had Eric Clapton’s ‘Unplugged’ album and that got me started with an interest in blues.

“Then, I got into musicians like B.B. King, Sonny Terry and Roy Buchanan. I also liked Creedence Clearwater Revival ands the Allman Brothers because they were influenced by the blues. As time went on, I got more into acoustic folk and blues. I grew up with an acoustic guitar. My parents wouldn’t get me an electric guitar.”

As a result, Andersen is equally comfortable playing a solo acoustic set or performing with a band.

“I just finished a full band tour in Canada, so I played electric guitar,” said Andersen. “When I play the states, it’s mostly solo. When you’re playing small rooms, it’s too expensive to tour with a band.

“I’ve been lucky with my career in the U.S. I’ve gotten certain pockets where I’ve done great. Also, with this kind of music, you don’t need airplay.

“For the opening act on this tour, I’m bringing one of the best dudes I know, Adam Baldwin. He’s a great singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia.   I can’t wait for you all to hear him.”

Adam Baldwin

Baldwin is a Canadian indie rock singer-songwriter based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In addition to his solo work, Baldwin currently performs supporting fellow Dartmouth native Matt Mays.

Baldwin has been a mainstay of the Atlantic Canada music scene for over a decade and he’s making his first solo tour of the U.S. with Andersen.

With his sophomore full-length, “Concertos & Serenades,” Baldwin, who was born and raised in Nova Scotia, offers an East Coast testimony that challenges the typical tourism marketing gloss.

Through eight masterful yarns, the songwriter bears witness and pays tribute to a tradition of desperation: sinners and losers, perpetual failures, and down-and-out phantoms that haunt his home’s coastlines and back roads — without a passing judgement. Some of the tales happened, some didn’t, and most walk a tightrope between truth and fiction.

Starting as a member of rock combo Gloryhound before joining Matt Mays & El Torpedo in 2009, Baldwin’s own music has continued to evolve since his award winning self-titled solo debut EP in 2013. In 2016 Baldwin released his first full length album, “No Telling When (Precisely Nineteen Eight-Five),” featuring the singles “Daylight” and “Anytime.” In 2019 he released the follow up, “No Rest for the Wicked,” which featured “Salvation” and “Dark Beside the Dawn.”

In March 2020, with in-person performances impossible due to COVID-19, Baldwin launched his Cross-Country Chin Up concert series, almost every Friday evening on YouTube. In addition to making this weekly opportunity to connect virtually with fans, he also raised funds for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, Red Cross Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund, RCMP Fallen Officer Fund, and the Black Cultural Society for Nova Scotia. The online concert series also produced two digital EPs — “Chin Up Sessions,” (originals) and “Songs for the Parlour” (covers).

“Concertos & Serenades” is Baldwin’s most complete work so far.

According to Baldwin, “I feel like a lot of these stories just kinda flew in on the west wind off Porter’s Lake or off the Atlantic Ocean here. And there’s a lot of stories to be told.

“Just from livin’ out here, some of the people you meet. There are some hard, hard men and women out here who worked their asses off out on the ocean for decades. They’re different types of people, man, and they’ve got different stories to tell, and I felt like they’d been left out of our song writing tradition for a few years.”

Video link for Matt Andersen – https://youtu.be/l817S1hnMnM.

Video link for Adam Baldwin – https://youtu.be/Fxxi57jQWUM.

The show at City Winery on October 24 will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20, $25 and $30.

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