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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pete Anderson at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill Oct 17

About 4 years ago Pete Anderson heard the call for a new challenge. The Detroit-born blues guitarist and record label owner had accomplished just about every goal set in his varied musical career. For instance, he was a member of Dwight Yoakam's touring band during the frenzy of their 1990s popularity. The work served him well on many levels but he knew his future would dead-end as a touring musician. “I didn’t want to be in anybody’s band any more even if they were on my label,” Anderson said in a recent interview. “I didn’t want to work behind a singer again. I didn’t want to be in a situation where anybody could stop me.” Already the process of taking over his destiny had begun. The Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids welcomes the return of guitarist Pete Anderson on Oct 17. Anderson says that even if you have a signed contract you can’t force people to do things. “A singer could say ‘I don’t want to go. I’m sick. I want more money. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ There’s nothing you can do about it.” Pete Anderson says he puts a lot work into forming a band and creating a record. If he can get things going his way, he stands a better chance of cutting down on the inherent flakey human element. “I didn’t want anyone to even have the potential to say ‘I don’t want to play tonight.’” So he and his wife downsized their recording operations in Los Angeles and set up shop in his 4-car garage at home. By this time he had become a noted producer by working with Buck Owens, Roy Orbison, and the Meat Puppets. “I used to think I’d like to work with a bunch of different people but I look around now and I have worked with a bunch of different people,” Anderson said with a laugh. “I’ve had a pretty broad career working with William Norman Edwards, Rosie Flores, and k.d. Lang. I’ve got a long legacy of stuff I’ve produced and I’m proud of the majority of it.” But what he’s focused on now hits a little closer to home. “I told my wife I’m going to start my own band,” Anderson said. “I’ll work on my singing. I just want to play guitar. I’ve always been a producer who played guitar. Now I want to be a guitar player who makes his own records and tours. During time off I’ll produce other artist’s records. I’ve flipped the paradigm from producer-guitarist to guitarist-producer.” Amid all this productivity he found time to establish a demand for himself as a studio session guitarist (Michelle Shocked, Tanya Tucker, Flaco Jimenez). Of all the success achieved so far Anderson sounds most proud of running his own label. The story of Little Dog Records best illustrates his hands-on, from-the-ground-up approach to things in general. “In 1992 it was pre-internet, pre-No Depression magazine, and we had an 800 number telephone line in the office,” Anderson said. “I started it in the spawn of the infancy of independent record companies.” His method of going it alone but not solo seems to have paid off. “I always wanted to do my own thing,” Anderson said. “I love to play live. Left to my own devices as an artist where I am singing and writing, the blues is where I stand.”

Pete Anderson live at the Tip Top on Oct 17. Doors at 7:00 pm.

Ticket info:  http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=4813175&pl=tiptop

Listen to 3 full-length songs at Pete Anderson.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wayne "The Train" Hancock at the Tip Top

Wayne Hancock looks and sounds like he wears a throw-back jersey with a GPS in the pocket. That's how in touch he is with the tradition of yesteryear and the vibe of today. He can tell what it feels like to get sweat and dirt in your eye at the same time. Feeling overwhelmed with life? Hancock's got just the thing for that. Call it caring the country & western sort of way. To get yourself on the road to recovery grab your wig-hat and find a live set of Hancock’s signature hillbilly jazz sound; then pick out a spot on the adjacent dance floor. Now you've got it. Let it move you by the soul. “Dancing is the best expression to release that bad energy,” Hancock said. Just what the folks have been grooving to, in particular, for the past 17 years is Hancock’s version of Texas dance hall and jump blues. “Whether it was the hand clapping or what, the originals played jump blues so people could dance,” Hancock said on his way to a sold out gig Urbana, IL. “I like it upbeat. If you can swing your blues then you’re there.” Ever the humanitarian Hancock has everybody's interest in mind but his own. “When people leave my shows I want them to feel like they got a leg up on some of their worst times.” Wayne Hancock, appearing at the Tip Top on Oct 9, presents a roots music experience as it was first intended. He cites Bob Wills as a contributor of some of the best blues he’s heard. “He conveyed the down side of how he was feeling,” Hancock said. “But he put a swing to his music that made it seem like that no matter how bad things got, you still had the upper hand.” He writes the lyrics of a laborer but delivers with a vocal style that's more uppity big city. Hancock admits to an affinity for vocalists like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. He has a penchant for gems from the American song book. Thus he records a version of “Midnight, the Stars, and You” (Ray Noble) on his disc Viper of Melody (2009). “My parents were born in the 1920s," Hancock said. "I grew up listening to “Stardust” and Hoagy Carmichael. No matter what they had on the radio I never was happy with it.” He says he thinks the blues ain’t nothing you need to be afraid of. “Blues are expressions of life,” Hancock said. “They’re like feeling good and having sex. It’s just another emotion.” The hillbilly portion of hillbilly jazz is all Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, perhaps Hancock's most handy comparison. Hancock is putting out new disc in early 2013 called Ride. Songs topics are expected to include a new found love of riding motorcycles and the ever trusty murder ballad. Hancock recently hired a manager after many years without one. He is reported to be very pleased so far with a new booking agency. If things are looking up for Wayne The Train then the rest of us might have a chance. “I’ve gone through some changes in the past two years,” Hancock said. “But now I feel like I’ve got my yodel back.” 

Wayne "The Train" Hancock wsg The True Falsettos at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill tonight. Show at 8 pm.  

Ticket information at: