Portland-based guitarist Marisa Anderson's warm, often solo-electric performances unpack a wealth of material from across American and British folk-music traditions, and her original material gently but deftly pushes that lexicon in new directions. Whether she's exploring the bleak thrills of the traditional Scottish ballad "The House Carpenter" (which she combines with Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" in a revelatory, episodic performance on her 2015 split with Tashi Dorji) or conjuring shimmery desert vistas on 2016's album Into The Light, Anderson uses her fingerpicked style to immerse the listener in conversational melody and sparse but solid bass lines and chords. Without ever over-playing, Anderson coaxes full and complex pictures from her instrument.
During live shows, Anderson often stops to discuss the history and context of the traditional material she plays, with an approachable style that's the perfect complement to her playing. Her next album, Cloud Corner, is due out in June on Thrill Jockey Records. The title track captures the kind of rugged, resourceful execution that makes Anderson stand out. Here, she'll be opening for Chicago psych-folk artist Circuit Des Yeux. Madison-based guitarist and experimenter Erik Kramer will also be on the bill; his debut album, A House, Floating In The Middle Of A Lake, was among our top 20 Madison records of 2017. —Scott Gordon