Circuit des Yeux, Marisa Anderson, Slow Planes | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Circuit des Yeux, Marisa Anderson, Slow Planes Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Aug. 28, 10 p.m. 2015

Over the years Portland-based guitarist Marisa Anderson has played in country and jazz bands and even with a circus traveling through Mexico. She’s an old-school musician who zigzags across the country in her car with guitar in tow. And she provides a pretty excellent case study as to why a repertoire of standards can endure over time. On her 2013 album Traditional and Public Domain Songs and her forthcoming split release with fellow guitarist Tashi Dorji (Footfalls), she takes on some real warhorses (“John Henry,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Hard Times Come Again No More”), using their melodies and structures as starting points from which to construct elaborate constellations of fingerstyle lines. The familiar melodies of the songs provide something to hold on to as she turns themes inside out, adding clusters of notes that ring in dense harmony and fall in tangled rhythmic figures. Anderson extends the lineage of American roots music, but her idiosyncratic, gnarled sound distances her work from that of preservationists—century-old songs seem like they could have been written yesterday. Ultimately what matters, though, is her distinctive combination of razor-sharp articulation and glowing overtones, as warm as embers from a bonfire.

Peter Margasak

Price: $12, $10 in advance

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