The next time you’re at one of those parties where a trivia game breaks out and the question gets asked, “Who was the last person to open a show for the late, great B.B. King,” you can go ahead and smirk knowingly as you boldly and confidently answer that it was Hamish Anderson, a then-23-year-old from Melbourne, Australia.
Anderson left his home Down Under in the spring of 2014 in favor of America; the music that he connects with—blues and rock—is from here. By year’s end he’d opened for King, one of Anderson’s own heroes, and he’d been heralded by guitar slinger Gary Clark Jr. as someone to watch.
Anderson began learning guitar on an old Ibanez when he was 12, but although his beacons include B.B., Albert, and Freddie King, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Robert Johnson, and Buddy Guy, this ’90s child found his raison d’être in the grooves of his dad’s classic rock vinyl. “I don’t think I’d ever thought about guitar before listening to the Beatles’ White Album,” he’s said. “Listening to Back in the U.S.S.R., something just clicked; it’s all I’ve thought about since.”
Since his arrival in LA, Anderson has issued a pair of EPs and a live album (2016’s Live at the Belly Up), and he’s been noticed by the folks at the Independent Music Awards (where he won the 2015 statue for Best Song—Blues for Burn), The Huffington Post and the U.K.’s The Blues Magazine (where he was profiled in their 2015 “Future of Blues Music” issue). And you may have noticed him opening for Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wynona Judd, Blues Traveler, or The Rides.
And now comes Trouble, Anderson’s Jim Scott-produced debut full-length. Scott, who’s worked with Petty, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ryan Bingham, Wilco, and Grace Potter, was at the top of Hamish’s list of producers thanks to his work on a mid-’90s Petty classic. “Wildflowers by Tom Petty is, for me, the example of a perfect album,” says Anderson.
Recorded predominantly live—no click tracks, no Auto-Tune—at Scott’s warehouse studio north of LA, Trouble puts Anderson in a category with predecessors like Clapton and Richards, guys who slip comfortably between rock and blues songs. Led by the raw, chunky, Stonesish title track and the traditional blues Hold On Me, the CD is teeming with raw classic rock riffs and tasty blues licks, complemented by the silkiness of Anderson’s Sunday morning vocals. With Trouble, Hamish Anderson has shown the great stuff that can happen when a Millennial falls into Boomers’ ’70s music and owns it for a new generation.
Official site: www.hamishandersonmusic.com