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posted: 2/18/2013 2:16 PM

Blues guitarist/singer Matt Andersen performs at ECC Feb. 23

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  • Award-winning guitarist and singer Matt Andersen.

    Award-winning guitarist and singer Matt Andersen.
    Courtesy of ECC

Submitted by Elgin Community College

Award-winning guitarist and singer Matt Andersen brings his exhilarating blend of blues and rock to the Elgin Community College Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 23.

His performance begins at 7 p.m. at the SecondSpace Theater in Building H, the ECC Arts Center, on the Spartan Drive Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.

The Canadian artist has performed with legendary blues and rock artists like Bo Diddley, Little Feat, America and Loverboy. He won Memphis's famed International Blues Challenge in 2010, beating out contestants from 11 countries. Andersen was also recently awarded the Maple Blues Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Andersen grew up in a musical household and took up guitar at 14. It wasn't long before he transitioned from playing classic rock and Top 40 covers to the Mississippi Delta blues. He began building his name on the Canadian circuit.

"Through Eric Clapton I got into B.B. King, which led me to the Chicago electric stuff and eventually back to the Mississippi Delta guys," Andersen says. "What really hit me most about the blues was its total honesty."

Andersen's newest album, "Coal Mining Blues," is a rich vein of new songs that primarily address the trying lives of working people. There's the self-explanatory "Work Hard for the Luxury," and the moving title track, which rings true in mining communities from Cape Breton to Sheffield and West Virginia. But not all of "Coal Mining Blues" is about hard work, as rollicking up-tempo cuts like "Lay it on the Line" and "Fired Up" bear out.

Tickets for the performance are $25. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at or at the ECC box office located in the Arts Center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call (847)622-0300. All major credit cards are accepted.

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