Theresa Andersson ‘shines’ tonight in Vail
“Connected,” the leadoff track on singer/songwriter/violinist Theresa Andersson’s new album, “Shine,” celebrates that hair-raising symbiosis that can occur when a performer and audience share a moment, when both the artist and crowd are lost in song. “That’s the most important thing to me, to feel that connection,” Andersson said in a press release. “Good music can’t happen without energy from both sides.”Andersson plays for the Hot Summer Nights concert at Ford Amphitheater at 6:30 p.m. today. Creating such moments is something the songbird has become quite good at over the past decade. Since moving to New Orleans in the early 1990s, Andersson has wowed Big Easy crowds and critics with regularity, earning herself a cream-of-the-crop reputation and scores of accolades. Her eclectic brand of roots-informed rock that can segue from bluegrass hoe-downs into swirling, Sonic Youth-styled distortion jams, has garnered her Offbeat’s Best of the Beat award for violin for six consecutive years and the 2003 Big Easy Award for Best Female Artist, as well as a regular slot at the city’s famed Jazz and Heritage Festival. With the sassy, spirited “Shine,” her debut for New Orleans-based Basin Street Records, Andersson is ramping up for a shot at the pop-rock pie, with her most mainstream-aimed, songwriting-focused set yet.The official start of Andersson’s solo career can be traced to the 1994 release of “Vibes” (Rabadash Records), a collection of jazz standards recorded for fun with a handful of top-shelf New Orleans players. In 1998, Andersson began writing her own material, thus allowing her solo career to truly blossom.Stays in Nashville and Austin helped that process along, with each city’s music scene influencing the structure and rock edge to her solo material, respectively. In 2002, she returned to New Orleans with the songs that would become her true debut, “No Regrets,” released on her own PoVolt Records imprint. Collaborating with a small handful of songwriters, the disc offers rootsy R&B and features performances by such “N’Awlins” fixtures as Continental Drifters guitarist Robert Mache and Papa Grows Funk keyboardist John Gros. The album was the top selling independent release at the New Orleans’ Jazz Festival store two years in a row. “A lot of inspiration for that album came from stepping out into my own,” Andersson said in a press release, noting that the title is a reference to her decision to begin anew. “It was like, ‘All of a sudden, I’m independent, I’m on my own.’ I was just writing a lot about that shift, and just finding strength and believing in yourself as a woman.””Shine,” Andersson’s follow-up release, is aggressive and in-your-face: a sharp turn from the more gentle sounds on “No Regrets.” Lyrically, however, “Shine” may be seen as a continuation and an expansion of the themes touched upon in her debut album. Andersson entertains the crowd tonight at 6:30 at the Ford Amphitheater.