Guitar great Pete Anderson’s March tour schedule takes him from home in Southern California to Tucson, through Texas and Tennessee, then back to California.
And on the first Monday in April, and pretty much every Monday when he’s home, you can find Anderson, 65, and his guitar at a small bar tucked inside the Burbank Moose Lodge, about a seven-minute drive from his home in Glendale, Calif.
It’s strictly no-frills, the kind of old-school, blue-collar bar you’d find in Milwaukee or Detroit, he says.
“Kind of low ceiling, leather booths and a pool table,” he said during a phone call to chat about his Club Congress show tonight. “It’s totally casual because it’s a private club and it’s all ages. I just started playing there and I sort of loosely put it on Facebook. I didn’t try to market it. It fills up. Forty, 50 people and it’s packed, and we have a fun time.”
Anderson, longtime guitarist for Bakersfield country star Dwight Yoakam, moved out of the shadows and beneath the spotlight as a solo artist five or six years ago.
“I told my wife, ‘I’m not going to be anybody’s guitar player anymore.’ … I really want to concentrate on my career,” he said. “I never concentrated on myself as an artist. I don’t want to be somebody else’s guitar player.
“I want to get on stage and play in front of people, and that’s about as Zen as I can do it and that’s what makes me the happiest.”
He’s recorded three albums of solo material that is more bluesy Americana than the roots rock that has been his calling card with the artists he has worked with, including Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Michelle Shocked and Rosie Flores.
He also built a home studio, and works with outside artists recording low-budget records that don’t have to meet big-label expectations.
“When I played with Dwight, I’m very proud of the music, but it was all triads, three-note chords. Now I’ve expanded that extra note into a tetrachord, which makes the chords a little more complex, and consequently my music is a little more complex,” he said. “ … It’s kind of taken on its own little life in what I’m doing. I may expand back toward the country, rootsy side, but I’m sort of focused on this (blues) side.”
Anderson has played a number of gigs in Tucson, including with Michelle Shocked, solo shows at Plush, and most recently at La Cocina in 2011.
Tonight he’s at Congress, where the bar might remind him a little bit of that Moose Lodge in Calfornia.
He’s coming as a trio — he plays guitar and harmonica, and is joined by a drummer and an organist who also plays bass.
“You’re going to hear a lot of guitar. You won’t walk away and go, ‘You know, I didn’t hear enough guitar,’” he joked. “But it’s not like I’m a guitar player that just comes out for the guitar players. That’s not what I do.”