Rising Australian blues singer Hamish Anderson at Solana Beach’s Belly Up Jan. 25
This time last year, 23 year-old Hamish Anderson had no idea he’d be recording and touring around the United States as a working artist with a growing fan base.
Anderson, a native of Melbourne, Australia, with two successful EPs under his belt, is bringing his act to Solana Beach’s Belly Up on Sunday, Jan. 25, opening for Los Lobos.
“I haven’t really explored Southern California that much,” Anderson said from Melbourne, where he was on his summer break. “I’m really interested to see what it’s all about. From what I can tell, it’s very different from Melbourne.”
Anderson’s roots in blues began when he was just 12 years old while exploring his father’s vinyl collection. “He had the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Led Zeppelin records, and I got influenced by the artists who influenced them.”
It was a curious choice at first, considering that the blues doesn’t have the same cachet in Australia that it has in America, especially in places like Chicago or Nashville. “The blues has never really been at the forefront of popular music there,” Anderson explained. “But I begged my parents for months to get me a guitar, and it became an obsession.”
That obsession found Anderson practicing the guitar in his room day and night, honing his craft and waiting to perform in public. “For a long time I considered myself only a guitarist,” he said of his musical evolution. “I then got more into songwriting, and that’s what felt more real to me as something I wanted to continue doing.”
From listening to those Rolling Stones records to honing his songwriting and guitar skills, Anderson began focusing on a career in music and began hitting the stage. The result was a banner 2014, which came full circle when he linked up with Krish Sharma, a LA-based producer known for his work with the legendary Don Was and the Stones themselves.
“We wound up getting along really well, but I didn’t think anything would come from it,” Anderson said. “We had a good vibe and were on the same brainwave, so we collaborated.”
The result of that collaboration is Anderson’s two EPs, the latest of which, “Restless,” features the handiwork of Sharma, as well as pedal guitarist Greg Liesz (who has worked with Tom Petty) and mixer Brian Lucey (best known for mixing albums for the likes of The Black Keys and The Shins).
“We only did about two or three takes of each song,” Anderson explained of his recording process. “After doing so much touring with my band, we felt really comfortable with playing live. I wanted the songs to have a live feel.”
He scored his latest coup this past fall when he opened up for blues god B.B. King, which Anderson calls “a dream come true. His band, which also played with Ray Charles, was very complimentary towards me and that was awesome.”
Now he’s focusing on making 2015 as good as the previous year. “Everyone back home kind of really enjoys everything that’s been happening to me,” he said. “It’s going so well and I never thought any of these things were going to happen. It’s gotten better and better and that’s all you can really ask for.”
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