Sari Andersen’s songwriting career began in earnest in her late twenties when, as an art student, she was challenged to do something creative in a medium she’d never before attempted. She wrote her first songs and performed them from the stage of a Los Angeles club to a stunned audience of friends and strangers, who wondered from where this apparently seasoned singer/songwriter had appeared from. The silken voice, the rhythmic acoustic guitar playing, her charismatic stage presence and lyrical song craft were not an overnight transformation for Andersen. In fact, this daughter of musicians Eric Andersen and Debbie Green was no stranger to the stage. Her father rose to prominence as a gifted songwriter of the 60’s folk era, and many of this songs, such as “Close the Door Lightly Before You Go,” “Violets of Dawn,” and “Thirsty Boots,” became classics. Debbie Green, who was an early member of the Cambridge music scene, played guitar, bass, keyboards, and sang backing vocals on tour or in the studio with artists including Andersen and Hoyt Axton. Debbie was a key force in the 60’s folk revival. She was amongst the original folk music pioneers, researchers, and interpreters, always searching for a great song. Inspired by her mesmerizing voice and songs, Joan Baez adopted Debbie’s arrangements for own first album.
Sari grew up surrounded by folk roots music players, and exceptional singer/songwriters. As a result, she was singing backing vocals in concerts and at music festivals, sandwiched on stage between Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt, before she was out of college. Once Andersen laid down her paintbrushes to begin writing and singing her own material in earnest, there was no stopping the torrent of songs that burst forth from the gates.
Andersen’s writing and performances are reminiscent of the vocal gifts of Sarah McLachlan the rhythmic sensibilities of Rickie Lee Jones and the poetry of Bob Dylan. Within a year she was stealing the show during her dad’s West Coast U.S. solo concerts, working up demos in the studio, and touring in Europe with Eric Andersen’s band. The band originally included Rick Danko and Garth Hudson (from The Band) and Jonas Fjeld, a well-known and loved singer and guitarist in Norway. Sari replaced her beloved late friend, Rick Danko, on Eric’s 2001 Scandinavian tour, backing Eric on his newest material, performing her own songs, and singing Danko’s parts on legendary music from The Band catalogue. She also contributed background vocals, along with Phoebe Snow and Lucy Kaplansky, to Eric’s release of Beat Avenue, and joined Eric and Phoebe at The Bottom Line in New York City.
Andersen, who is presently unsigned to a record label, is independently releasing her first album, with backing from top West Coast players including Fritz Lewak on drums, Jeff Young on keyboards (both play with Jackson Browne and Melissa Etheridge) and other master musicians.