Halfway Home By Morning
High Romance Music/True North Records
Matt Andersen is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from New Brunswick, Canada. In 2010 Andersen finished first in the solo/duo category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He is a seven time Maple Blues Award winner; and winner of two European Blues Awards. “Halfway Home By Morning” is Andersen’s tenth full length recording.
The album is produced by Steve Dawson and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. The band includes Andersen, acoustic and electric guitars, and vocals; producer Dawson, guitar, organ, pedal steel and mandotar; Chris Gestrin, keyboards; Mike Farrington, bass; Jay Bellerose, drums and percussion; and a horn section featuring Jim Hoke, sax; Charles Rose, trombone; and Steve Hermann, trumpet. The McCrary Sisters provide both the harmony and backing vocals.
Andersen possesses a stunning voice and is a grand songwriter. All of the songs are written or co-written by him. Opening with “What Would Your Mama Say”, Andersen’s vocal, Gestrin’s piano and the McCrary’s harmony will transfix you. An evocative guitar solo completes the production. “Freeman” features Gestrin switching to organ and the fabulous horn section.
“Something To Lose” co-written with Amy Helm features her in a moving duet with Andersen. Dawson’s pedal steel and the horns complete this bit of Americana with the lyric “I’m gonna love you like I got something to prove, I’m gonna love you like I got something to lose”. “The Bed I Made” is a groove with a pump organ and an infectious acoustic guitar bridge.
“Give Me Some Light” features the lyric “every night when the sun goes down, her memory drags my heart around…it’s so dark and I can’t see…give me some light to ease my pain”. The horn arrangement completes this fine production. “Better Than You Want” is written with producer Dawson, “I’m gonna try to be better than you want me to be”.
On “Take Me Back” Andersen sings “I left home before the harvest, before the hard work would start, my old man was disappointed, and I broke my mother’s heart”. “Quarter On The Ground (A Song For Uncle Joe)” is performed solo acoustic with just the McCrary’s.
Each of the remaining songs features Andersen’s beautiful vocals, fine horn arrangements, stirring harmonies and Dawson’s meticulous production. This surprising album from the genre blending Andersen combines soul, Rhythm and Blues, and Americana to make it one of the year’s best new releases.