Composer, fingerstyle guitarist, and harp guitarist extraordinarie Muriel Anderson celebrated a major birthday earlier this month with a live birthday party / concert…and it was a blast! Along with hundreds of other fans listening to the event, I heard wonderful music, had a tour of Muriel and partner Bryan Allen’s Long Island summer home, and watched the guest of honor open presents.
Muriel is one of my guitar heroes, and I’ve written about her work several times in the past. Like here. And here, when I tell the world that I’m in love. And here, when I tell the story of sitting in the baggage claim area at BWI airport so I could here her play a brief concert.
And one of my posts with the most views — Be Present When Serendipity Strikes — was about finally waking up on a flight home from Nashville one summer evening, only to realize that I was sitting next to Muriel and Bryan. From that point on, it was a magical flight.
I had hopes of hearing Muriel play live at a house concert this summer, but her tour — like those of all musicians — was cancelled. However, she has been on Facebook Live each Monday with a short concert (because, she said, Chet Atkins and Les Paul used to play on Monday evenings). And that Wednesday evening birthday concert was an extra special treat which is still available for viewing.
Her website bio reminds us that Muriel is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. Her CD, Nightlight Daylight — with its wonderful cover artwork by Bryan — was chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of the decade by Guitar Player Magazine, and her “Heartstrings” recording accompanied the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery. She has performed/recorded with Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Victor Wooten, Tommy Emmanuel and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.
So let’s listen to some music! Muriel played her beautiful composition Two Shores during her birthday concert, noting the appropriateness given their location on Long Island.
A live version of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun from the Eclipse CD is certainly worth a listen. And let me encourage you to dive into the song Dandelions, which Muriel wrote for the Nightlight Daylight CD. Last month she posted this video which gives some of the context behind the tune. It is a beautiful story, based on her childhood, that reminds us not to worry about the whole world, but instead encourages each of us to do something good for one person today. That is a timely lesson in our year of pandemic and political chaos.
And we’ll end with another tune played for the birthday concert, the Greek-flavored 13/8 time tune A Baker’s Dozen played on harp guitar and sure to get your blood moving! Bravo!
Happy birthday, Muriel! May you enjoy many more in the years to come.
More to come…
P.S. – Aw shucks, I couldn’t pass it up, because I love this version so much…so I’ll really end with Muriel explaining the thought process behind how she put the arrangement together while she plays her wonderful version of the Beatles song Day Tripper.