Roots Rising ! with MATT ANDERSON, GABY MORENO, & LIZ VICE

Matt Anderson

With over 2 million views on YouTube, independent sales over 30,000 albums, a 2013 European Blues Award, and winning Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge, it appears that the entire world is now discovering Matt Andersen. A powerhouse performer with a giant soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Matt has built a formidable following the old fashioned way – touring worldwide and letting the converted audiences and Andersen devotees spread his reputation through word of mouth. Now with Weightless, his debut album for True North Records, Matt’s music has been captured on record as never before.

With Weightless, the New Brunswick native shifts his formidable talents as a blues performer to his song-craft. His reputation as a bluesman won him the 2013 Euro Blues Award for Best Solo /Acoustic Act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, and nabbed him 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. “The blues is a big part of what I do, and in my solo show some tunes are straight-up blues, for sure,” he says. “But I would never stand beside B.B. King and say, ‘I play blues, too.’ None of my albums are blues albums—I’ve won blues awards with them, but I wouldn’t say they’re blues albums.”

That’s more than evident on Weightless, where Andersen comes out of the gate swinging with I Lost My Way, one of two co-writes with Joel Plaskett, where he is singing a soul/gospel melody over a reggae groove. Then he channels Van Morrison on My Last Day, before delivering a gorgeous country ballad co-written with David Myles, So Easy. With Dave Gunning, Andersen tells the all-too- common tale of Maritimers heading west to work on the oil sands, in Alberta Gold. Hamilton’s Tom Wilson helps craft a rockabilly ode to a battered rust-belt town, City of Dreams, while Andersen’s Wolfville, N.S. neighbour Ryan Hupman lends a hand on three songs, including the title track, Between the Lines and the spiritual What Will You Leave.

“Writing with Joel Plaskett, he’s always thinking about the hook and has a real melodic quality. I like having different angles on there. Dave Gunning is a really great storyteller, so the songs I wrote with him have more of a storytelling kind of vibe. A lot of the tunes I wrote with Keith Mullins were more a different groove than I’m used to; he’s a drummer who played with me a lot, so he brought a different sense of rhythm and phrasing. Writing with Tom Wilson was trying to play catch-up, because he just keeps writing and writing.”

“They’re all people I’d hang around with outside of music, so it’s more friends just doing what friends do,” says Andersen, who adds that he didn’t feel any pressure on his first album with fully label supported international release. “It was nice and relaxed, a great way to write. If I write a whole album by myself it sounds like me too much, where every song sounds the same, and I’m always leery of that.

“It keeps it fresh for me; every tune has its own personality, which I really like. I realize I write better when I write with someone, it keeps you from settling for a lyric. I go that extra mile. Going back and forth with these people, we get the best out of the idea we could.”

Something you won’t hear on Weightless, extended guitar solos: Andersen will let you wait for his live show for that. “It’s fun to do, but on albums I want to focus on the songs more. I don’t want it to turn into something where every tune is a big wank. There’s just enough on the album that you can hear there’s some great playing, but it’s not a big instrumental feature. I don’t put myself out there as a guitarist; I think I’m more known for singing, and then guitar playing after that.”

Andersen’s extensive discography boasts seven albums, including one Christmas album, one live album, and two albums with harmonica player Mike Stevens. His most recent album, 2011’s Coal Mining Blues, was produced by Colin Linden and was recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, N.Y. This time out he turned to Steve Berlin of Los Lobos for production duties; not only was Andersen a fan of that band, but he was surprised to find out that Berlin produced his favourite Tragically Hip album, Phantom Power. Berlin brought Calgary guitarist Paul Rigby on board, who is best known as Neko Case’s right- hand man. Anyone who’s ever been wowed by Andersen’s guitar chops might wonder why he’d need another guitarist, but he says, “Paul is the kind of guitar player I’m not. He had great melody ideas for arrangements and guitar parts; I had to learn my songs again after Paul was done with them.”

One thing Andersen won’t be doing in the near future is learning other people’s songs to flesh out his set. (Andersen plays at least 200 shows a year). That’s despite the fact that a performance of him transforming Bill Withers’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” has over 855,000 views on YouTube. “When I first started playing, I did a lot of bar gigs, just like anyone,” he says. “Then when I transitioned into my own stuff, I didn’t have a whole lot of original material. And in terms of confidence, when you know what you can get out of a crowd by playing ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ it’s pretty easy to go with that to get their attention. I did that for a while; in retrospect, probably a bit too long. Now that ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ clip is most people’s introduction to me, what they’re drawn to—which is natural. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve shaken off the easy route and focused more on my own stuff at shows.”

After hearing the instant classic material on Weightless, it’s hard to imagine any fan of Matt Andersen—old or new—leaving unsatisfied.

Born and raised in Guatemala, Los Angeles based Gaby Moreno grew up inspired by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin. She immersed herself in blues, R&B and 60’s Soul and learned to speak English by singing the songs she loved.

Her original blend of Jazz, Blues and 1960s Rock & Soul has earned her the respect and appreciation of audiences in Latin America, Europe and U.S. In 2013, she received a Latin GRAMMY for Best New Artist. Previously in 2006, she won the Grand Prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Moreno also co-wrote the theme song for NBC's hit television show "Parks and Recreation".

Gaby Moreno has toured across the globe alongside artists like Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Ricardo Arjona, Van Dyke Parks, The Punch Brothers and Calexico. Most recently she performed at David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival in London and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.

Gaby released and toured “Ilusion,” all of 2016. Ilusion is produced by Gabriel Roth from Daptone Records and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings camp. Armed with a warm, soulful horn inflected sound- Moreno creates a unique lane of music that straddles both the English and Spanish speaking world and blazes an intoxicating invitation into her musical world.

Liz Vice has always had a love for storytelling. The Portland native who currently resides in Brooklyn, started her career working behind the scenes in the world of film and video, only to accidentally find herself behind the mic. Liz Vice’s sound is a fusion of Gospel and R&B, with dynamic and and soulful vocals, and lyrics, deeply rooted in spirituality, that give her work a timeless feel. .

Vice got a knack for performing early. She was raised by her mother as the middle of five children. Every morning growing up, she was awaken by her Mother’s voice singing “rise and shine and give God the glory glory.” . She also found herself frequently stealing away to the basement to dance and lip sync songs from the radio, and soundtracks from her favorite films. E. Liz taught herself how to play piano, marking the notes on the piano using blue painter’s tape on the the notes of a keyboard, placed by her friends who were taking piano lessons. Her Aunt bought her h headphones, that she would make young Liz sit with on her head in the living room for hours mimicking the notes she would here from an instrumental CD.

At the age of 19 Vice’s health declined, and she found herself on hemodialysis for the next three years. Her illness left many scars on her body including those from surgery on a fistula (abnormal connection between an organs). Vice received a kidney transplant in December 2005, which marked the beginning of a time of great healing and perspective.

A year later, Vice became a member of a local church and felt a nudge, that would not leave her alone each Sunday, to sing background vocals on the worship team. Suffering from stage fright, Vice knew that fear could never overpower this unknown “call”. She said yes to the nudge and sang her first solo during a Sunday evening service, “Enfold Me”. The rest is history.

For the past four years, Vice’s music and live performances have put her on the map as an artist to watch. She has been praised and featured by Oregon Public Broadcasts’ One Song, NPR’s World Cafe, Mountain Stage, eTown, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Relevant Magazine, and more. Vice has also been a featured artist in Portland for such events as Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, Moon River, Forecastle, Portland Soundcheck, Soul’d Out Music Festival, Siren Nation Music Festival, Music on Main Street and more.

The title track for her first album “There’s a Light”r received over one million streams on Spotify. The success of the record , led to performing and/or sharing the stage with artists such as Joss Stone, Blind Boys of Alabama, Boz Scaggs, The Temptations, Rodriguez, Lake Street Dive, Lecrae, Cody Chesnutt, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Eric Early of (Blitzen Trapper), John Mark McMillan,Sandra McCracken, Josh Garrels, Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), Luz Mendoza (Y La Bamba), Eshon Burgundy (Humble Beast), and more.

No matter how large the venue, her genuine approach to her work and playful interaction with the audience makes everyone feel like their sitting at home on the couch watching a friend sing their heart out. Vice is very passionate and has overcome many personal obstacles; she credits her adventurous life to not forcing anything and being willing and available to wherever it is that the LORD leads. "It's all about risk, and taking risk is never regretful...well, most of the time.”

$25 Advance / $28 Day of Show

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