A&E » Arts

Double-bill delight

East Coast blues, roots and rock performer returns to Whistler, joining forces with fingerstyle guitarist



Who: Matt Andersen & Don Alder

When: Wednesday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $22

Originally from Perth Andover, New Brunswick, Matt Andersen still calls the East Coast home, but this musician spends a considerable amount of time on the road, traveling from gig to gig.

“I love being on the road,” Andersen said. “The last couple years, I’ve done pretty close to 200 shows, which is pretty much being out steady, between driving home and doing laundry and going out again.”

It doesn’t seem to matter the size of the venue, either. Whether it’s a small, 50-person club or an amphitheatre, the good-natured musician’s rich, deep vocals could fill just about any room. You don’t have to look very hard to find a touch of East Coast influence in Andersen’s style and sound.

“I guess my style of playing comes a lot from the kitchen party kind of vibe,” he said, adding that he’s self-taught, with a laidback style of performance.

And next week, Andersen will join the international fingerstyle champion, Don Alder, for a double bill show at MY Millennium Place as part of the Whistler Arts Council’s annual performance series. This isn’t Andersen’s first trip to Whistler — his performance with Jim Byrnes last year was so well received, that he’s back for another grassroots-inspired show.

It’s pretty easy to see how he was drawn into the world of music; he was surrounded by it. He was raised on a steady musical diet of country, rock and gospel; his mother played organ, his grandfather played fiddle, and his brothers played guitar.

“So there was always music whenever the family got together, that’s for sure,” he said. The only real mysterious element of his bluesy, rootsy rock seems to be, well, the blues.

“When I lived in London, Ontario, it was the first time I really got to hear live blues music, and that really caught my attention,” Andersen explained.

“Old blues and country are pretty much hand-in-hand,” he added. “There wasn’t the huge difference that there is today.”

After studying recording, Andersen returned home to work for McCain’s and start paying off his student loans.

“Making pizza pockets and that kind of stuff,” he said with a chuckle.

He soon teamed up with another musician during an open mic night, and got to a point where he was playing four nights a week and working seven days, so he had to choose between music and his day job.

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