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Combining boundless creative imagination with 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”, Pitchfork calls her latest record, ‘Mercury’, ”Brilliant” and Wire Magazine says, “Her sound has strength in restless variety…Anderson’s playing is heartfelt and utterly American, free from grandstanding and steeped in respect for the old tradition.”
On ‘Mercury’, Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Songs like ‘Mojave’ and ‘Embudo’ evoke 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. She played guitar in the Dolly Ranchers and the Evolutionary Jass Band before going solo in 2009. 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 Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Devil Makes 3 and Sharon Van Etten. In August 2013, KBOO Community Radio released a split 7″ featuring Anderson and Elizabeth Cotten.
Anderson’s music has been featured on NPR and 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, 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.