If you’re not Danish then you very probably don’t know the name Mike Andersen. I’m not, and I didn’t until I had the chance to give this disc a whirl in my CD player.
Andersen’s recording career is actually well underway. His 2002 debut ‘My Love for the Blues’ seemed a clear statement of musical direction and his 2010 effort ‘Echoes’ won high praise and was a nomination in three Award categories at the 2011 Danish music awards. I suspect that those discs are going to be picking up hefty sales throughout Europe though after people get a listen to Andersen’s new release.
Before we start I need to make one thing clear, Andersen, on the evidence of this disc anyway, is no out and out Bluesman. His sound is a slick Bluesy backing with the most soulful vocal styling I’ve heard in a long time.
I can see curious punters at the local record shop putting on the headphones and tapping their feet withing 15 seconds of the jaunty opener ‘I Wanna Go’ with a super punch of electric guitar. “Make peace with the Blues” calls out Andersen and believe me, listening to this track you will do just that.
There are strong echoes on here of other musicians in style, but that’s a positive thing because the similarities are of those musicians at their best as with ‘Between Love and Dawn’ which could easily be a Robert Cray number with it’s world weary tale of love gone wrong or ‘Run as fast as you can’ which if it was tacked mischievously onto the end of Clapton’s ‘Pilgrim’ disc I swear people wouldn’t notice it wasn’t the man himself – one of the most haunting tracks I’ve heard in a long, long time.
In actual fact there is only one non-Andersen song here and it’s one that you don’t mess with: George Harrison’s classic ‘Something’. Very sensibly Andersen doesn’t attempt to mess with it either, even keeping in the weeping guitar break. It works though as a worthy addition to the disc because of one ace that Andersen has over his more famous source, a gloriously soulful voice and it’s this voice that is really the star of the whole disc. Whether on uptempo disco rhythms like ‘You Don’t Need Me‘, in duet with Nikki Burt on the slow acoustic ‘Hey Baby‘ or rolling ‘drunk’ on the piano stool with ‘Still Drinking’.
The tragic events in Oslo and Utoya of July 2011 are also addressed in the poignant ‘Is It All Gonna Be Alright?’ as Andersen asks “What Can I tell My Son?”, How do you comprehend incomprehensible evil? Perhaps by replacing hate with love? It’s probably no coincidence that the short and sombre instrumental which follows leads onto ‘True Lovers’ – the juxtaposition of these tracks says simply ‘Make Love Not War’.
Hopefully by now you’ll be thinking that Mike Andersen’s CD might well be worthy of your musical attention. It’s planned release date here in Germany is 6 September and you will hear a lot of new music between now and then but I doubt you will hear anything better. The distributor over here is Soulfood Music and if there was a record chart for such a category then this disc would be high in it’s top ten.
Don’t believe me? Give the video below a listen…