Soundboard

Hamish Anderson’s impressive in High Sierra debut

Tahoe Onstage

Hamish Anderson delivers the blues to the High Sierra Music Festival Big Meadow stage.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Australian-born guitarist Hamish Anderson took the Big Meadow stage by storm early Thursday afternoon at High Sierra Music Festival. Accompanied by drums and bass, the simple instrumentation allowed a lot of sonic space for the 26-year-old blues artist to spread out and showcase his measured, patient chops. The set was propelled by well-crafted songs and a politely confident stage presence.

Anderson has spent the last three years in Los Angeles developing his sound and touring around the United States.

“It’s been great,” he told Tahoe Onstage. “I’ve had a chance to see more of the country than I think even a lot of Americans have.”

The regular touring obviously has paid off for the young guitar slinger as he was poised and comfortable onstage. This was his first appearance at High Sierra Music Festival and he was surprised by the enthusiasm of the High Sierra crowd so early on in the festivities.

“The whole set felt great,” he said. “We were on pretty early, so I was wondering if people were going to be out, but two or three songs in, I really opened my eyes and saw that people were dancing and getting into it. I had a ball.”

Armed with a Telecaster and a small assortment of pedals, Anderson opened his set with the straight ahead blues-rock original “Trouble” and the soulful tale of unrequited love “Burn.” These songs served as a great indicator of Anderson’s no-nonsense songwriting. While he was certainly an engaging character on his stomping blues numbers, the highlight of his set came near the end with the 6/8 ballad “My Sweetheart, You.” His vocals were reflective and his guitar playing introspective and sensitive. His terrific touch as a guitarist is reminiscent of the great B.B. King, so much so that it came as no surprise when King was the first guitarist he mentioned as an influence along with Albert King, Clapton, Hendrix and George Harrison.

The blues singer and his bandmates were busy Thursday; between their set and our interview they managed to swing by the Jam In The Van to record a three-song set.

“The Jam In The Van thing was awesome,” he said. “We did ‘Little Lies,’ a song called ‘U’ off the new album, and another song off the new album called ‘Hold On Me.’ ‘Little Lies’ is the one that’s gotten the most radio play, a lot of college radio play, which is nice.”

His Jam In The Van performance will be available on YouTube in the coming weeks.

With such a tireless work ethic and a strong core of guitar and vocal chops, Anderson is sure to continue his successful ascent in the world of blues and rock music. Keep an eye on his tour dates at hamishandersonmusic.com.

-Spencer Kilpatrick

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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