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Pete Anderson 

When: Fri., March 21, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: free
If you know Pete Anderson chiefly for his nearly two-decade stint producing and playing guitar for Dwight Yoakam, his solo work may be a bit of a surprise — and a damn pleasant one, too. Anderson’s 2013 album Birds Above Guitarland showcases the ax master’s gift for old-school blues, swing and vintage soul, and there’s nary a hint of the Telecast twang you might expect, with the possible exception of “Red Sunset Blues.” Even then, it’s twang of the Ennio Morricone variety (as opposed to Bakersfield). But what’s most impressive is that Anderson demonstrates he’s a bona fide bluesman, exhibiting the sort of unhurried, impeccable phrasing and feel that blues aficionados revere in the likes of Jimmy Vaughan and Duke Robillard. He’s no slouch as a singer, either. A contender for best blues album of the year, Birds Above Guitarland features highlights such as the funky soul excursion “36 Hour Day,” jump-blues workout “Talkin’ My Baby Down” and two versions of the swampy “Rock in My Shoe” — the second featuring Nashville’s queen of raspy sass, Bekka Bramlett, on vocals. Admission is $15 at the door. (Anderson will also participate in a program at the Country Music Hall of Fame, “Concert and Conversation: Pete Anderson — California Country’s Second Generation” at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, in the Ford Theater.)
— Jack Silverman

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