Applying classical technique to a boundless creative imagination and a deep reverence for American folk, blues and country music, Marisa Anderson’s guitar playing is fluid, emotional, dexterous and original. Signal to Noise magazine calls Anderson’s guitar work “Utterly fabulous”, TIme Out London refers to her playing as “Stunning…haunting and evocative”, and Pitchfork calls her latest record, ‘Mercury’, ”Brilliant”.
On ‘Mercury’, Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Songs like ‘Mojave’ and ‘Embudo’ are steeped in the sounds of the American West, while ‘Galax’ and ‘Deep Gap’ are tributes to the rural mountain music of the South. “Mercury” picks up where Anderson’s previous acclaimed record “The Golden Hour” leaves off, featuring sixteen compositions for solo guitar and lap steel, recorded live in single takes, with no overdubs, looping or electronic layering.
Before landing in Portland in the late nineties, Anderson dropped out of college at age nineteen to walk across the United States and didn’t stop traveling for fifteen years. “Mercury” is a direct result of Anderson’s peripatetic existence, reflecting years of living in cars, tents and buses, traveling to Mexico with a circus, walking, hitchhiking and always playing guitar. In the past two years, Anderson’s music has landed her festival appearances in Europe and the United States and opening slots for artists including Sharon Van Etten, Daniel Higgs and Thao and Mirah.
Anderson’s music has been featured on soundtracks including ‘Smokin’ Fish’, ‘For the Love of Dolly’, ‘Girls Rock’, and ‘Gift To Winter’. Recent festival appearances include Le Guess Who, Creative Music Guild Improvisation Summit, Portland Experimental Film Festival, Sound & Music Festival, NOFest, Electrogals, Festival of Endless Gratitude, Pickathon, and PICA’s TBA Festival. Her writings on music and activism have appeared in Bitch Magazine, Leaf Litter, and in Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, the book.
She is KBOO Community Radio’s 2013 Artist in Residence and in 2012 Anderson was one of six artists selected for Signal Fire’s Afloat Residency. Anderson’s debut solo recording ‘Holiday Motel’ was a 2006 Outmusic nominee for Best Female Debut Recording. Anderson spent 2003-2011 working at the Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls in Portland.