(Photography: Jay Reilly)
Nena Anderson’s sultry, blues-tinged vocals and sweetheart of Americana swagger are enough to captivate any room, even one as big as the 1,600-seat downtown Balboa Theatre. Her confident stage persona and song book of lost love laments has obviously caught the eyes and ears of local booking agents, as she’s tabbed to open up for Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman on January 9th.
Allman, who has been slowly getting back into playing since his liver transplant in 2010, comes to town sans the Allman Brothers Band, but riding strong as a solo act. His latest album Low Country Blues is a collection of blues standards that combine nicely with Anderson’s Americana/Bluesy vibe. Anderson has been using her gorgeous San Diego Music Award nominated (and our number one album of 2011) Beyond The Lights, to garner praise and recognition over the last few years. Her talents are also on display as she struts her honky tonk in the band Brawley and lends her vocal and songwriting prowess to Alex Woodard’s project For The Sender.
Curious to see how Nena felt about opening for the legendary Allman, I reached out to her for a few questions about opening the show.
Congrats on this great opportunity! How did you score the opening slot?
Thanks, I was referred to the promoter of the show by Kevin Manual of Cash’d Out. He suggested that I’d be a good fit and that they should check out my music.
Have you ever opened for such a big name/talent? Who was the biggest name/talent you have ever opened for?
I’ve been so lucky to open for a lot of amazing artists. I once opened for Dr. John (I was singing in a band called Big Mo with David Mosby). I’ve also opened for Dan Hicks, Raul Malo (The Mavericks), John Doe (X), Jimmie Vaughan and Dave Alvin.
Do you know your time slot? How long do you get to play?
Doors at 7pm. I play at 7:30 or 8pm for a 30 minute set.
Are you preparing any differently for this show or will it be your usual set?
Nothing different than usual…it’s a short set, so I’ll stick with my most popular songs. Or whatever I happen to be in the mood for in the moment!
Are you bringing your band The Mules to play the show with you?
No band for this one. I’ll be flying solo… me and my Gretsch.
If you could duet with Gregg on an Allman Brothers song, which one would it be?
While I grew up singing along to “Ramblin’ Man” on the radio, I love Gregg’s solo stuff. It would be amazing to sing “Dark End of The Street” or “Midnight Rider.” His latest album is full of songs by artists close to my heart…I’d be thrilled to sing “Little by Little,” “Please Accept My Love, “Checking on My Baby” or “My Love is Your Love.”
If you could have Gregg either play keys or sing with you on one of your songs, which one would it be?
Probably “Beyond The Lights” or “Promises”
A handful of seats still remain for the show. If you are going, get there early and give this great San Diego artist some support!