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Barrett Anderson knows the roots of the blues -- he has recorded songs by Muddy Waters and Son House -- but he's never afraid to split off and do his own thing.  He's very much a modern songwriter of the blues, incorporating the energy of the J. Geils Band at times and singing and writing with a rhythmic flair propelled by his outstanding guitar playing.  He can pick in the subdued, lyrical style of Ronnie Earl, or burn with the dynamics of a true rocker.  His album, "The Long Fall," is a first-rate statement and helped earn him a Boston Music Award for best blues artist of the year.

We're just now hearing the solo album, released late in 2007, by guitarist BARRETT ANDERSON.  Once a member of Ronnie Earl's Broadcasters, Anderson took an unpredictable turn when he headed to Mississippi in search of the deepest blues.  The results are heard on the Jimbo Mathus produced ALL THE WAY DOWN, a raw set heavy on Delta and Hill Country Blues.  "Woke This Morning," a minor-key instrumental, introduces a jazzy guitar figure not unlike the melody of "Summertime," then moves into jagged soloing, with lots of room sound (how far away from the microphone was that piano, anyway?) and atmospheric reverb.  Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" is here, in a wonderfully crude take.  The Chicago style is heard in "Red's," a churning instrumental built on the "Killin' Floor" motif.

...  Barrett Anderson brings his excellent Chicago blues band up to play.  They ignite the crowd with two sets of incredible music featuring Ron Levy on organ and Per Hanson on drums/harp and vocals.  And in the second set, like icing on a cake, national star/local artist Lydia Warren joins the group with her guitar and stunning vocals and the trio becomes a foursome and the performance becomes incredible.  Music highlights include: originals "Gone" and "Broken Down" from his debut album, "All The Way Down," Barrett's Mississippi Fred McDowell-influenced slide guitar, and their blazing covers of Muddy Waters' "Can't Be Satisfied" and John Lee Hooker's "Dimples."  Ron Levy is a master of every note he plays, and Per's rousing harp/vocals/drums performance on Jimmy Reed's "Going to New York" is inspiring to say the least.  Swampy Blues: for a white band they sure sound black.

Barrett Anderson is honored as 2013 Blues Artist of the Year

Hailing from Petersham and well known by many in the North Quabbin region, musician Barrett Anderson was honored on Dec. 8 with the award of 2013 Blues ARtist of the Year at the 26th Annual Boston Music Awards gala event.

Anderson was one of five nominees in the Blues Artist of the Year category, which included highly regarded blues musician James Montgomery and the well known Boston band Roomful of Blues.  Anderson joined twenty-nine musicians selected as the best in their category at the annual honors held at The Liberty Hotel in downtown Boston.  The high energy event was hopping with four stories of music as the much anticipated awards were announced to the delight of the packed crowd and the surprise of the artists.

Anderson was on hand with friends and family and noted after his honors were announced, "I am excited and humbled to have won a Boston Music Award, especially in a category with such great competition.  I am so grateful to all the fans, friends, musicians, and supporters who helped get me to this point and I'm planning on doing lots more in the new year.  Now the work begins."  

The winners are selected based on a vote of the Boston Music Awards Academy composed of about 10 members of the music industry combined with Internet voting by the public, which accounts for one-third of the final tally.

Anderson grew up in Petersham and is the son of Tom and Candace Anderson.  The singer/guitarist/songwriter returns regularly to his hometown as an avid supporter of community efforts, performing for the benefit of many good causes.  Working with dedication to his music and his love for the blues, after college at Tufts University, Anderson built his music career playing at venues throughout the region.  He was a member of the Boston based Monster Mike Welch Band and spent time in Mississippi backing up bluesman T-Model Ford.  Anderson went on to record his first album in 2007 in Mississippi.  Today many area fans enjoy his performances at The Ale House in Gardner, Deja Brew in Wendell, Picasso Restaurant in Barre, and the Bull Run in Shirley.  He performs regularly in Boston and Cambridge clubs and around New England.

Anderson recently his newest album, "The Long Fall," which features a selection of his original songs.  He is on vocals and guitar and is joined by venerable blues organist Ron Levy, who played with legendary BB King and Albert, and acclaimed drummer Per Hanson, who performed with Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters.  The record is available at, iTunes,, and at live performances.  

Area musicians, including Jamie Hatch and Doug MacLeod, regularly join Anderson at the region's venues.  Anderson will be playing at Deja Brew in Wendell on Friday night, Dec. 13, and at Abodeon in Cambridge with his good friend, Dennis Brennan, on Saturday night, Dec. 14.  Upcoming shows include the Middle East and Atwood's Tavern, both in Cambridge.