Ace blues musician Hamish Anderson is a very busy guy these days.
Last year, he was named one of Total Guitar’s Top 10 New Guitarists.
And, this year – having just finished his new, superb “Out of My Head” release – he’s on tour opening for Texas blues guitarist and recent Saturday Night Live guest, Gary Clark Jr.
He’s played SXSW, opened for the late, legendary B.B. King, and had his music profiled on NPR Music’s “Heavy Rotation.”
Hamish Anderson recently made time to visit with us about both the tour and his new album.
Here’s the latest from this rising blues star!
PRP: “At what age did you start playing guitar, and which musicians were your early favorites?”
Anderson: “I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old. It was listening to The Beatles White Album that made me want to play guitar and write songs.”
“My early favorites – which are still most of my current favorites – are The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Clapton and Chuck Berry.”
PRP: “The first track on your new album – “No Good” – is an extraordinary blues track…really love the crispness of the opening chords!”
“How did it come about, who’s playing with you?”
Anderson: “Thank you! It took me a really long time to write ‘No Good.’ I had all the music done very quickly but it took me months to work out what the song was about and to write the lyrics.”
“Johnny Radelat from Gary Clark Jr’s Band is on drums, Chris Bruce – he works a lot with Doyle Bramhall II – plays bass, and Jerry Borge (currently touring with Ziggy Marley) is on keys. I think it’s a really strong opening track to the album.”
PRP: ““Happy Again” is a stellar arrangement. What got you inspired there?”
Anderson: “It’s one of my favorites, too. I wrote it not long after the release of my first album “Trouble,” and it’s a very honest song. In the composition I was inspired by watching Paul McCartney play “Blackbird”…those open chords inspired the music in “Happy Again.”
Adds Anderson: “For the production we were going for a JJ Cale vibe, smokey after-hours kind of thing.”
PRP: “On your new track, “You Give Me Something,” hearing a little Santana in there, a little Clapton, too. Love the electric guitar riffs and the way you closed out the track, and we’ve added it to our playlist this month.”
“Will it incite riot at your concerts, that’s the question! Did you write it recently, or have you been holding onto it a while?”
Anderson: “Yeah for that one I just wanted to get super loud and fuzzy! Cream was definitely an influence on it and even a little Marc Bolan, too. I wrote it in the middle of 2017 when I was in Canada playing a festival there.”
You Give Me Something
PRP: “You’re touring now to promote ‘Out of My Head.’ Do you have any venues coming up you’re super excited about?”
Anderson: “I’m very excited to be heading out on tour with Gary Clark Jr., and to be playing in my home country Australia!
“I’m really excited for the gig in Melbourne because that’s my hometown, and the venue we’re playing – The Forum – is a dream venue of mine!”
PRP: “When did you hear the news you would be playing with Gary Clark Jr.? You were already familiar with his music, right?”
Anderson: “I found out in late January and yes, I am very familiar with Gary’s music. I’ve been a fan of his music for years in fact.”
“He came to a show of mine in NYC when I was first came over to the States in 2014 and was very complimentary and we’ve kept in touch since — so I’m really excited to be supporting him on this tour.”
PRP: “What are some of your favorite venues for shows?”
Anderson: “I really love The Troubadour in LA, it’s such an iconic venue with so much history that it’s a definite favorite.”
“Hotel Cafe is a great community of artists, too.”
PRP: “Do you have any favorite tracks for playing before a live audience?”
Anderson: “I always like playing “Burn” from my “Restless” EP, it’s a great opening song to get things going. “
Anderson: I have a lot of fun playing “Trouble” and “Working Blues…and “U” is a really nice change of pace amongst the rockers. Of the new stuff, I’m having a lot of fun playing “No Good” and “Breaking Down,” in particular.”
PRP: “Will you be touring in the U.S. to promote the new album? Any chance we will see you at the annual Waterfront Blues Fest in Portland this July?”
Anderson: “Yeah we’re starting to put together some U.S. dates now. I’m really excited to be playing in Memphis for the first time at the Beale Street Music Festival! And there’s definitely more U.S. dates to be announced soon! “
“We’re also doing Quebec’s Mont Tremblant Blues Festival in July and touring Europe in late September. I’d love to get back up to Portland.”
PRP: “PRP loves your music, we’d love to have you join us for an in-studio show or podcast sometime!”
Anderson: “Next time I’m in Portland that would be great!”
Out of My Head
Hamish Anderson’s new “Out of My Head” release is one not to miss.
The rising blues star worked with producer / engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tedeschi Trucks, Tom Petty) on the album, and it shows.
Released just this month, the Americana-roots-blues-rock album is a fabulous set of tracks that underscore Anderson’s unique approach to the blues and meticulous attention to detail.
Aside from the Australia tour, this year Anderson has shows scheduled in the U.S., Europe and Canada.