LIFE as a travelling musician isn’t easy as Bon Scott famously sang on AC/DC’s anthem Long Way To The Top.
Yet it’s a lifestyle Canadian blues man Matt Andersen relishes. The long-haul flights, the lonely motels, the bleak highways – it’s all part of being a troubadour.
“I’m pretty comfortable on the road,” Andersen tells Weekender while preparing for the second show of his three-night residency at the Dream Cafe in British Columbia.
“Not everybody loves it, it’s not for everybody. I’ve always loved it and loved playing. It’s not that I don’t like being at home, but after a while you get itchy to get back on the road and play music again and be in front of people.
“Not everybody loves it, it’s not for everybody. I’ve always loved it and loved playing."Matt Andersen
“I like seeing new places. You have to fly for a long time and stay in hotels, but it’s part of it and I love it.”
That love of touring is bringing the imposing singer-songwriter to Australia for a sixth visit in two weeks. The three-week tour concludes in Newcastle.
It’s often said Canada and Australia hold much in common. Both are vast, beautiful countries that generally boast open-minded societies.
“I feel really at home on tour in Australia,” Andersen says. “The countries are a similar age and have many of the same influences from Britain. You guys are really spread out like Canada, so you can be driving a long time before you see anything.”
The Nova Scotia-based musician broke onto the scene in 2002 with his New Brunswick band Flat Top, before slowly building a solo career through relentless touring.
Andersen has performed with Buddy Guy and Beth Hart and his rich gospel voice - described as a cross between Joe Cocker and Marc Cohn - has become an attraction. Andersen’s large frame and wild beard and hair also make him hard to ignore.
While it’s been a slow burn, album No.7 and No.8 Weightless (2014) and Honest Man (2016) has seen Andersen’s career soar.
“After a while if you put the work in, things start to come around,” he says. “I’ve been full-time for the last 13 or 14 years, so in the last few years it feels like the hard work has come to fruition.”
Honest Man has attracted Andersen’s best reviews. It is also the first time he opened his mind to co-writing. Fellow Canadians Chris Kirby, Andy Stochansky, Ryan Hupman and Gordie Sampson helped Andersen pen tracks for the album.
“I’ve started doing a lot more co-writing, which I didn’t do at first, but I’m really starting to see the benefit of it,” he says. “Having someone else to back the idea and have someone else’s input, keeps you going.
“Writing by myself, I was starting to rip my own ideas off. I like writing with people who like different music and bring in something different.”
Catch Matt Andersen perform at Lizotte’s on December 4.