Matt Andersen - "Free Man" (True North): The track teases the release of the New Brunswick blues/soul dynamo's 10th album, Halfway Home by Morning, coming out March 22.
His formidable body of work, plus a commitment to touring matched by few others, has brought him a loyal international following, two European Blues Awards, seven Maple Blues Awards, and an International Blues Challenge, though, surprisingly, no Juno as yet. A Canadian tour, supporting his previous release, 2016’s Honest Man, sold more than 25K tickets nationwide.
The new album was recorded live off the floor in Nashville at Southern Ground studio, and it features such stellar players and backing vocalists as Jay Bellerose, Amy Helm, The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Regina, and Alfreda), and Canadians Steve Dawson, Mike Farrington, and Chris Gestrin.
“There is nothing like listening back in the studio, and everybody has the same smile on their face over what we’re hearing,” Andersen says in a label press release. “You can’t fake the vibe of musicians playing together, responding to the choices others are making in that moment.”
The choices made on the advance cut, "Free Man", are winning ones. The uplifting song is co-written by Andersen and Craig Northey (Odds), and it possesses a Southern soul meets blues vibe, enhanced by horns and the strong backing vocals of roots music luminaries The McCrary Sisters. Andersen's voice is in top shape, more muscular than a squad of NFL linebackers, while Steve Dawson produces with typical finesse. Joe Cocker is a valid reference point for this one.
After two February gigs in California, Andersen begins a European and British tour in Cologne on March 19, running through April 3. He's booked for the Montreal Jazz Fest on June 29, with more Canadian dates TBA.