Growing up with a very musical family in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick — a blue-collar village located on the border between the Canadian province and Maine — gave singer and songwriter Matt Andersen a unique view on performing.
Growing up with a very musical family in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick — a blue-collar village on the border between the Canadian province and Maine — gave singer and songwriter Matt Andersen a unique view on performing.
"Music was a part of my culture," Andersen says. "So music was never a performer on stage for an audience. It was everyone just sharing that moment together.
"I try to bring that to the show as much as possible, make it more like a big living room rather than someone out in the audience waiting for someone to play a song."
Andersen will share that moment at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at Wild Goose Cafe, 2365 Highway 66, Ashland. There is no cover charge.
Andersen released his eighth studio album, "Weightless," in February. The album was recorded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with Los Lobos keyboard player Steve Berlin producing. Andersen brought in musicians to back him up, and the group recorded the album live in the studio to 2-inch tape.
"Every time I record, I try to do it as live as I can. I'm not a huge fan of overdubs, especially for rhythm tracks," Andersen says. "I handpicked the players who came in to make sure it would be able to work, because there's very little room for error when you're recording this way."
The album's title comes from the feeling Andersen had while making it.
"I had just started with a new label, and it was the first time working with a producer like (Berlin), and I was also with new management," Andersen says. "It was a big leap of faith all at the same time. That's what the (title) song is about, and it was a pretty fitting title for the album."
Andersen co-wrote all of the songs on "Weightless" with multiple collaborators. He says that having different collaborators made for better songs and prevented the album from focusing on a singular idea or style.
"I don't like writing within a certain sound or a certain style or a certain genre. I think that can be pretty stifling creatively," Andersen says. "It was nice to be able to write the song, have my voice and my playing be the connecting element, but treat each song individually and not try to make it such a prefab kind of sound."
"Weightless" features songs such as the gospel-driven "I Lost My Way," the country ballad "So Easy" and the scorching blues of "Alberta Gold." While Andersen recorded the album with a band, he will, for the most part, perform it solo on the road.
"I do about 150 shows a year, and probably five or six of those might be with a band," Andersen says. "Playing solo, I have the opportunity to stretch out a little bit. I can mess around with the arrangements. I don't really play everything the same way every night, so there's a little bit more freedom that way."