Marisa Anderson


Despite her Northwestern environs, there’s something reminiscent of the open West in Marisa Anderson’s work. It’s not that her pieces necessarily evoke the telltale tropes of ‘60s cinema so much as they wrestle the desperation of barren lands into one’s mind. Her lyrical passages move like clouds sliding over red earth — songs draped in splendor, but edged with a foreboding desolation. A sense of looming doom sets in even as the sun begins to set over the edge of the world. There’s a yoke that’s hung heavy around the listener, imparting the weight of unseen hands and atrocities that can’t be conveyed in words. Still, Here has resolve, but it feels like it’s dragging a Sisyphean weight with it. More than the heart is heavy on her latest album.

Anderson falls into that current class of instrumental guitarist working to ease the Takoma shadow off of the genre, creating a record that’s far more Americana than American Primitive. Like Bachman, or Rolin, there’s rot in in the wood that’s been shaped into a frame here though, a picturesque landscape that’s made to crumble eventually . Her Americana is one of flawed history and consequence. There’s ache between the frets and a patient pacing that traces the rain through the fissures in the concrete. The tone isn’t always overcast, with lighthearted interjections in the way of “Waking,” and “The Crack Where The Light Gets In,” but both are songs that smile and sigh at the same time. Elsewhere she deals directly with the sobriety of 2022, songs that ripple with life, but shoulder the the gnawing ache of a collective anguish. Coming off of a recent collaboration with William Tyler, Anderson is certainly having a prolific period, but each new album only proves how essential she is to our bittersweet bedrock.

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