BIRDS ABOVE GUITARLAND
Pete Anderson (Little Dog Records)
Erstwhile country guitar hero Pete Anderson cements his transition into full-time solo artist with this excellent followup to his 2011 release "Even Things Up."
The California based guitarist who rose to fame playing with Dwight Yoakam in the ’80s works in a heavily rhythm and blues-based format here, eschewing a bit of the blues/jazz base of his previous solo work for something more funky. The result is in the same soulful stylistic format as the Tedeschi/Trucks Band or Janiva Magness, only with less emphasis on the vocals and more on guitar, piano, and horns.
West coast surf jazz makes an appearance on the official album closer "Red Sunset Blues," jumpy country jive drives "Talkin' My Baby Down," and the disc kicks off with a couple of songs that work a cooled down James Brown strut. At the center of it all is Anderson's guitar work featuring a pristine tone and his access to a broad textural palette that makes him sound just as comfortable getting down and dirty on the funk as he does riding a blues jazz groove.
There's a bonus track featuring Bekka Bramlett on a smoldering version of "Rock In My Shoe," which Anderson also tackles on the disc. He will be at the Village Idiot in Maumee for a show Monday night. Look for a feature on him in Friday's Blade.