Portland’s Marisa Anderson is a masterful exponent of what was once described as American Primitive guitar. Her music is steeped in blues, country and bluegrass traditions, and delivered with an understated confidence. This is her first for Thrill Jockey, and sees her utilising acoustic guitar alongside her customary electric, as well as electric piano. Essential for roots nerds or anyone into the John Fahey / Jack Rose / Glenn Jones continuum.
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Well, the irony is not lost on me; I’m not quite in the ‘Cloud Corner’ but I *am* in the Reviewer’s Corner this relatively cloudless sunny day in Holbeck, in order to write a little about this spindly guitar goodness from Marisa Anderson. All the instruments on this record were played by the extraordinarily dextrous-fingered M Anderson; so bears the legend on the back record cover, including: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, requinto jarocho (?!), charango and the lovely Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer, you don’t hear enough of it these days, probably.
So, all played by Marisa Anderson and all written and recorded by Marisa Anderson (at the intriguingly back-to-basics sounding ‘Parts and Service Department’; got a string that twangs a little off-key? Marisa Anderson has a fix for that). Marisa Anderson is very talented and very, very good at playing instruments such as (mainly) her guitar. And behold; her fluid picking and strumming are a joy to hear and these songs, although originals, certainly harken back to a time and place a British 21st century city boy like me can only imagine. I’ll be dreaming about this place and time in the continuum for the rest of the morning from my newly-named Cloud Corner.
For the duration of the very lovely and evocative instrumental music on this record, I’m thinking of sparsely tree-bounded rocky outcrops (from ‘Slow Ascent’ onwards), in the transition of seasons from Autumn into Winter as mists descend with not a wisp of a breeze to lift the murkiness. It’s a lonesome place (‘Lament’) and actually very attractive (‘Sanctuary’), so 8 stars and excellent work. Come back soon.
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