Bentley's Bandstand: Pete Anderson, Even Things Up

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BY BILL BENTLEY

Pete Anderson, Even Things Up, Little Dog Records

This man is a gangster of guitar. There is nothing he can’t do on that wondrous six-stringed instrument, and if you follow Pete Anderson’s entire career, it’s head-shaking just how much he’s accomplished. On this Deluxe Edition of his Even Things Up album, originally released in 2009, Anderson concentrates on his real roots: Detroit and all the fine-tuned blues and soul that came out of Motor City and beyond. That’s where the musician grew up, working on automobile assembly lines when he was still a teenager and taking up guitar to give himself an avenue to dream. And dream he did, right out to Southern California and the hot-house incubation of a country music renaissance that is still being felt.

Pete Anderson teamed with Dwight Yoakam in the early ’80s, taking the lead guitar postion as well as producing Yoakam’s groundbreaking albums. The pair revitalized country music during that period, and showed the way forward for Nashville to follow. And as exciting as those years were, deep in the Detroiter’s soul the blues was likely dying to get out. Now that it has, let’s hope it never goes away.

The breadth of music on Anderson’s fifth album is a revelation: from down & dirty blues to sophisticated soul, he plays with a master’s touch and a true believer’s vision. The original dozen songs on the album are an explosion of feeling, the guitar lines cutting to the heart in expressive brilliance. The four bonus tracks include a guest appearance by Bekka Bramlett, the country blues of “110 in the Shade” and two bad-ass live recordings from a Berkeley show last August. Listening to Pete Anderson work the club with a trusty trio is to remember where all this music starts: one man with a guitar in the spotlight, laying his life on the line to create a sound that means something. From the ’60s bars of Detroit to the California sun, over forty years of blues and fun, and the man sounds like he’s found his way home.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.