Matt Andersen and the Big Bottle of Joy “The Big Bottle of Joy”

Sonic Records, 2023

An album that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let you go.

artwork for Matt Andersen and The Big Bottle of Joy Album "The Big Bottle of Joy"Some albums can have the listener hanging on to every word sung because of the powerful lyrics. Other albums are played because of the good vibes that overwhelm the listener,  having an irresistible way of making the toes tap, and heads nod, and creating happy and joyful molecules to spread through the body refreshing parts that other albums cannot reach. Matt Anderson’s album ‘The Big Bottle of Joy’ falls definitively into this latter category. This is an album that grabs you by the throat from the opening bars of the first track to the last and it refuses to let you go.

A mixture of soul, blues, rock, and gospel weaved together throughout, it’s stunning in places, confidently delivered by Andersen and the superb musicians. Special praise must go to the backing singers (Reeny, Hailey & Micah Smith) and keyboard player Kim Dunn who gels the overall sound together with his B3 organ and pops up now and again to take centre stage in a most tasteful way. Think of Danny Federici and Garth Hudson.

The album kicks off with barnstorming ‘Let it Slide’ and songs such as ‘Golden’ and ‘Aurora’ wouldn’t sound out of place alongside your “Dusty in Memphis”, The Band, or Boz Scaggs. Whilst nothing on this release sounds like it’s breaking new musical ground, listeners know what they’re getting and it’s done so well that by the final track you’ll be scrambling for tickets to see Matt and his band play live.

The occasional song may be too generic for some, the lyrics not deep enough here and there, and if listened in isolation you’d swear ’What’s On Your Mind’  was Tom Jones looking for another ‘Kiss’ with a ‘Play That Funky Music’ backing track feel. These are very minor gripes – overall it’s a wonderful album that fans of this genre will be very happy with.


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