Hamish Anderson: A student of the three Kings (Albert, BB and Freddie), Peter Green and Keith Richards with influences of Jeff Buckley and Tom Petty.
“I started playing guitar when I was 12,” notes Melbourne-raised, LA-based Hamish Anderson. With “Trouble,” the raw, chunky opening cut and title track of his debut full-length studio CD, a couple of things become clear toute de suite: 1) The affable young Australian is intimate with a six-string, and 2) His music belies his youth. This child of the ’90s, raised on his dad’s classic rock vinyl, has roots that go deeper than you’d guess. Much deeper.
“I don’t think I’d ever thought about guitar before listening to the Beatles’ White Album,” he’ll tell you. “Listening to ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.,’ something just clicked; it’s all I’ve thought about since.”
But his roots go deeper still. A student of the three Kings (Albert, B.B., and Freddie), Anderson also admits to following Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jeff Buckley and Tom Petty. He effortlessly namechecks blues legends Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, and Son House, revealing a love for a genre that predates him by decades. “I think with the blues and rock music it was the honesty of the music and—especially the blues—the relatability of it; everyone experiences the blues.”
Anderson left his homeland in the spring of 2014 to give it a go in America because “the blues and rock is what I connect with, and it’s all from here.” Seeking opportunity, he aimed for the moon and hit the stars; within months this then-23-year-old wunderkind had become the very last artist to open for his hero, B.B. King, and he’d been heralded by guitar slinger Gary Clark Jr. in Revolt.tv as someone to watch under the age of 30.
Since then he’s issued a pair of EPs and a live album, and racked up an impressive array of accomplishments, including a prestigious 2015 Independent Music Award for Best Song—Blues (for “Burn,” from his sophomore EP); profiles in The Huffington Post and in the U.K.’s The Blues Magazine’s 2015 “Future of Blues Music” issue; and opening slots for Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wynona Judd, Blues Traveler, and a 12-city run with The Rides (Stephen Stills, Shepherd, and Barry Goldberg).
And now comes Trouble, produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ryan Bingham, Wilco, Grace Potter) and recorded predominantly live. “Jim had worked on a lot of albums from the ’90s and 2000s that I really, really love,” Anderson says. “Wildflowers by Tom Petty is, for me, the example of a perfect album. Jim’s the real deal.
“We wanted to do the majority of it live, with very few overdubs—get a really great band together and have it be about the songs, not about spending so much time on how the bass drum sounds. It was capturing, warts and all, the live thing. Rock music and blues music shouldn’t be perfect, and I’m really proud that there’s no Auto-Tune on it, that nothing was done to a click track.”
Decamping to Scott’s LA-area warehouse studio, Anderson was backed by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos on baritone sax; drummers Frederik Bokkenheuser (Ryan Adams), Aaron Sterling (John Mayer), and Johnny Radelat (Gary Clark Jr.); bassists Chris Bruce (Doyle Bramhall II, Meshell Ndegeocello) and Rob Calder (Angus & Julia Stone); and Chris Joyner (Ryan Bingham, Heart) and Jason Borger aka Jerry Borgé (Jonathan Wilson) on keys. The album was mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering in Los Angeles.
A deep collection of standout rock and blues tracks, including “Hold On Me,” “Fire,” “U,” “Working Blues,” “My Sweetheart, You,” and the first single, “Trouble” (which was immediately championed by Spotify and spun on radio stations coast to coast),
Trouble released on October 21st to stellar reviews from Elmore Magazine, Relix Magazine, Rock Cellar Magazine, Premier Guitar and various other music blogs.
Additionally, Yahoo! Music named Hamish in their Top 10 Best New Artists in 2016, KCSN in LA included it as one of the Top 10 Best New Albums in 2016 and Songpickr, a premiere Spotify playlist curator, included Trouble as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2016. He was named a Taco Bell "Feed The Beat" artist in the fall of 2017.
"U" is Hamish’s third single release from his debut album and was produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Ryan Adams). It debuted on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic and was #5 on MBE's Top 10 tracks for the week of 10/7/2017. Additionally, it was named "Best of Week" on Apple Music in Australia and Japan. Upon release, Songpickr selected "U" for their curated "Best of 2017" playlist.
In 2017, Hamish performed 11 sets during SXSW and has appeared at US festivals such as Firefly, Mountain Jam, High Sierra, Summerfest, Big Blues Bender, Echo Park Rising, Telluride Blues Festival and Canada’s RBC Bluesfest Ottawa.
-Jim Nelson, KCSN (LA) Radio Host & Rock Cellar Magazine contributor