Matt Anderson 'Coal Mining Blues' - Busted Flat

This Canadian singer-songwriter wound his way back from Eric Clapton to B.B. King and the origins of the blues in general and from an early age he developed his skills as a guitar player which found him receiving accolades as "Canada's greatest guitarist". However this album takes a very broad (and enjoyable) interpretation of the genre. Nor should one discount his expressive and exact vocals which at times had this listener reminded of Tony Joe White and Ray Lamontagne amongst other, this though was more in recognizing his strengths in the vocal department than as a direct comparison. In other words, his music is a broad palate, as mentioned, but one further emphasized by Colin Linden's knowing and absorbing production. Linden joins a select array of players who bring these songs to the space that does them more than justice. These players include Jim Horn and Garth Hudson - whose accordion on the rootsy Anderson/Linden co-write Home Sweet Home makes it an album highlight. As is the equally engaging title track Coal Mining Blues. Elsewhere there are some more uptempo tracks that highlight the ensemble skills of the collective team. and they give the album depth and variety. The songs are a mix of Anderson's songs, many written with Linden but some also from Willie P. Bennett (Willie's Diamond Joe), Charlie Rich (Feel Like Going Home). The later underscores the crossover soul content of this musical journey that should find favour with fans of good music of any persuasion. She Comes Down has backing vocals from Amy Helm which offer perfect counterpoint to Anderson lead vocal and it is again something special and marks Anderson as someone to catch live and on album. It's also a well-packaged album with a lyric booklet that is an added bonus to the music.