Published Sep 19, 2011It's been a busy year for Cape Breton singer/guitarist Matt Andersen that started when he became the first Canadian to win the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2010. That quickly led to an offer to open a string of dates for Old Crow Medicine Show, and now the 30-year-old is poised for even bigger things with the release of his new album, Coal Mining Blues, released Tuesday (September 20) on Kitchener, ON-based Busted Flat Records.
Production was handled by Colin Linden -- one-third of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings -- who brought Andersen to his familiar stomping grounds of Woodstock, NY, and specifically, Levon Helm's studio. Guests on the album include Helm's former Band-mate Garth Hudson, as well as Helm's daughter Amy on backing vocals.
Andersen recently told Exclaim!, "I've been getting to do a lot of stuff that I've dreamed of doing, like a national tour and recording with Colin at Levon's studio. Having Colin produce this one was great, because I got to spend some time hanging out with him at his home in Nashville, which prepared me really well for the actual recording sessions."
A tireless road warrior who up until now has averaged over 200 shows a year on his own, Andersen agrees that the album's blue-collar theme is a reflection of his own work ethic.
"I grew up in a small town and both of my folks are self-employed. But the song 'Coal Mining Blues' came out of living in Cape Breton for the past year and a half, even though most of the guys who worked in the mines here have had to take on different roles in the community. That hard-working East Coast vibe is just something that was bred into me."
In support of Coal Mining Blues, Andersen has lined up a long string of Canadian fall tour dates. You can see the complete schedule here.