Muriel Anderson’s new double album puts a rockin’ spin on children’s lullabies
A lot can happen in 25 years. Just ask Muriel Anderson. In 1989, the guitarist/harp-guitarist released her debut album, Heartstrings, and became the first woman to ever win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. Since then, she has been part of more than three dozen albums, compilations, DVDs and music books, and her music was featured in the Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
For Anderson, continuing to pursue music after all these years is only natural.
“It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘What keeps you coming back to eat another meal?’” she laughs. “It really becomes a part of who I am, and, at a certain point, there’s an obligation to share that joy and fullness of the music with other people.”
In March, Anderson will release her latest effort, a double album called Nightlight Daylight. And that idea of sharing music was the foundation for the project.
“One of my very best friends had his first baby, and I thought, ‘What do you give a best friend’s first baby?’” Anderson says. “And I thought, ‘Well, she needs her own lullaby CD,’ so I composed a CD’s worth of lullabies, recorded them, and gave it to him as a gift.”
That collection of songs now makes up the Nightlight portion of the album, but that wasn’t her original goal. In fact, she had only intended to press two copies of the lullabies. But then her friend welcomed another child into the world, and it got her thinking.
“The second baby is going to need music to wake up to if the first baby had music to go to sleep to,” Anderson says. “So that was the idea behind Daylight. I put them together into a double CD figuring, ‘Not only families with children, but everyone can use beautiful music to go to sleep to and fun, optimistic music to wake up to.’”
The overall tone of Nightlight is both calming and soothing. “Lullaby for Leo” and “Ferryboat Crossing” are delicate guitar ballads, while “Night Lights” is one of many tracks which features echoing, ethereal vocals to augment its serenity.
But Daylight is a different story. “Perfect Ten” is downright funky, and the title track is tailor-made for dancing around the breakfast table.
For Anderson, that variety is the beauty
of this double-album. For it, she was able to experiment with numerous creative endeavors, from the unique album art—which features embedded LEDs—to covers of classic songs, like “Superstition.”
“With ‘Superstition,’ I thought it would be fun to do it with [drummer] Danny [Gottlieb] as a duet,” Anderson explains. “But I had my favorite singer in the world on the album, Mark Kibble [from Take 6], and I wanted to give him something he could really let loose on. Then I said, ‘Well, it’s going to need bass on top of that,’ so we called in Victor Wooten. So it turned into this really fun, big piece.”
Muriel Anderson performs at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $16/adv, $19/door. For more information, call 603-2294.
Photo: Rusty Russel