Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Her playing is fluid, emotional, and masterful, featuring compositions and improvisations that re-imagine the landscape of American music. Her deeply original work applies elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music to compositions based on blues, jazz, gospel and country music. On her newest release, Into the Light (2016), Anderson leaves Appalachia and the Delta blues behind as she journeys west, into the heart of the sun. Written as the soundtrack to an imaginary science-fiction western film, the record’s ten songs trace the story of a visitor lost and wandering on the shifting borderlands of the Sonoran desert. Into the Light is shimmering and cinematic, the pieces built around pedal steel, lap steel and electric piano as well as Anderson’s signature guitar sound.
Originally from Northern California, Anderson dropped out of college at age nineteen to walk across the US and eventually landed in Portland, Oregon, where she currently lives. Classically trained, she honed her skills playing in country, jazz and circus bands. In 2009 she released her first solo gutiar record, The Golden Hour followed by Mercury (2011) and Traditional and Public Domain Songs (2013). More recently, she has been in demand as a collaborator and composer, contributing to recordings by Beth Ditto, Sharon Van Etten and Circuit Des Yeux among others, and creating music for short films. Anderson tours extensively throughout Europe and North America. Her work has been featured in Billboard, Rolling Stone, NPR, SPIN, Pitchfork and The Wire. Midway through 2016 Billboard magazine rated ‘Into the Light #12 on their list of the best records of 2016. Her 2015 split LP with Tashi Dorji was named one of the top experimental records of the year by Pitchfork/The Out Door. She has provided music for multiple recordings, film scores, soundtracks and live shows. Recent festival appearances include the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Sweden’s Gagnef Festival, Fano Free Folk Festival, Le Guess Who and the Festival of Endless Gratitude.