Marisa Anderson is a gifted musician who hails from Sonoma, California but currently calls Portland, Oregon home. Though somewhat under the radar, Anderson is renowned as one of the finest guitarists in the world. Emerging as a lively interpreter of Delta blues and Appalachian folk music, Anderson has been embraced by free and improvised music aficionados for the history of guitar styles and techniques that flow through her fingers. Her latest album is bolstered by electric piano, pedal and lap steel guitar and finds Anderson exploring the west, as it sits and as it stands in a contemporary, border conscious America. The record is called Into the Light and it’s one of the finest records of 2016. Marisa has been touring extensively since its release in July and she recently played Guelph so I invited her over to our home for pizza and a far-reaching conversation in our living room about her frequent visits to Guelph, playing Hamilton, Ontario and the Hamilton controversy and confusion, research and misinformation, bubbles, implied and overt threats, identity politics discourse, Patton Oswalt on nomenclature and content, broad brush finger-pointing, missed messaging and selective hearing, fear and outspokenness, communicating thoughts and ideas as an instrumentalist, spiritual and Christian music, church-y and state-y, growing up queer in a religious household, splintered identities, a childhood in Sonoma and wine country, working in the service industry, music and swimming, rebellion and recorder, getting into guitar, Bill Monroe, John Denver, Rush, Sousa marches, guitar reverence and understanding it as a shape-based instrument, Appalachian folklore and story songs, words and country sounds, Chet Atkins, guitar styles, sustainability, many sounds and one pair of hands, writing and singing at one point, “The House Carpenter/Demon Lover,” “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” folk traditions and definitive versions, intangible histories and empirical art, instrumental music as “cinematic,” Into the Light as the soundtrack to a non-existent film about the concept of feeling or being alien and migration, border psychology, belonging, music as an idea and emotional processor, contextualizing mysteries, gentrification in Portland, Oregon, urban growth boundary, distance and fodder, new work, coming back to a new America after time away, the vote recount, local levels, an uprising of common decency, the song “He Is Without His Guns,” a happenstance recording, self-quality control, and then it was into the night.
Related links: marisaandersonmusic.com vishkhanna.com