Friday, October 22, 2010

Classics and some surprises in store: An Evening with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, Thursday, November 18th at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton

Ian Anderson, famed for fronting the heavy British rock band Jethro Tull, is showing audiences he is not "Living in the Past" on his current North American tour.

Anderson's feet are planted firmly in the present. He even joined Facebook this summer with a Jethro Tull fan page. 

The singer will present some new material as well as classical workings from the Jethro Tull catalog at 8 p.m.Thursday, November 18th at the Calvin.

"There will also be some rare Jethro Tull stuff that hasn't been played for a long time," Anderson says. "It was fun to dust off (the catalog) and find opportunites to bring it to life again."

One such song, "Wond'ring Again," may make it into the set. The selection, suggested to Anderson by a a fan three months ago, has a deep resonance for the environmentally conscious musician. The lyrics, "the natural resources are dwindling and no one grows old," address issues from nearly 40 years ago that are still relevant in 2010.

"The lyrics fired me up," he says of rediscovering the song, a sequel to the song "Wond'ring Aloud." "It was recorded in 1971, but it sounds like it could be written for today."

Anderson, who took up the flute (he maintains it is an easy instrument to play) after deciding he would never be as good on the guitar as Eric Clapton, will be joined by his band, which includes Jethro Tull bassist David Goodier; Bristol, England-based drummer Scott Hammond; German rock and flamenco guitarist Florian Opahle; and classical musician John O'Hara, who also plays keyboards and accordion with Jethro Tull.

His solo career includes four diverse solo album: "Walk into Light" (1983); the flute instrumental "Divinities" (1995). which reached number one on the Billboard classical chart; the acoustic collections of songs, "The Secret Language of Birds" (2000); and "Rupi's Dance" (2003).

In addition to his numerous recording credits, Anderson was awarded a doctorate in literature from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh in 2006. Anderson finds the title humorous, since school wasn't one of his favorite things growing up.

"If you live long enough, they say nice things about you and give you stuff," jokes Anderson, who, at 63 has been happily married to his wife, Shona, for 34 years. "I'm not an academic. I wouldn't have done what I've done if I had been."

Tickets: Northampton Box Office. 586-8686. Online-

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