When: Thu., May 22, 9 p.m. 2014
When I listen to Marisa Anderson's solo guitar music, I think of Sun Ra's poem about "Tone Scientists." It wasn't enough for Ra that his musicians hit the notes; he wanted them to play with precision, discipline, and an awareness of tone and architecture. Anderson, who's based in Portland, Oregon, has paid her dues and done her research: she played in country, circus, and jazz bands before applying her acumen to a series of solo instrumental records for acoustic and electric guitar and lap steel. On her latest LP, Traditional and Public Domain Songs (Grapefruit), her performances of chestnuts such as "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and "Farther Along" are structurally sound and patiently paced, allowing the audience to soak in her waves of Pops Staples-style reverb and be hypnotized by her Elizabeth Cotton-inspired fingerpicking. In concert, Anderson keeps her verbal commentary to a minimum, instead telling a story with her sequencing of material—usually a mix of originals (often named after natural phenomena) and vintage tunes steeped in themes of community and spirituality. Anderson opens for local instrumental quartet Brokeback, which will play new material and debut a modified lineup—Jim Elkington is taking over from the departing Chris Hansen on guitar, and Areif Sless-Kitain is stepping in to fill Elkington's spot behind the drums. —Bill Meyer Brokeback headlines.