Perhaps inspired by his recent appearance on the public radio standby “A Prairie Home Companion,” Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio has announced a trio of solo acoustic dates in March. The run begins at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass., on March 8, followed by a show at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, N.Y., on March 10. It concludes on March 11 at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, N.H. Presale for all shows runs from Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 10 a.m. EST through Thursday, Jan. 26, at 5 p.m. EST. A general on-sale kicks off Friday, Jan. 27, at noon EST. More ticket information can be found here.
In November, Anastasio strapped on an acoustic guitar for an episode of “Prairie Home,” performing “Brian and Robert” and “Water in the Sky” (from Phish’s 1998 album The Story of the Ghost), “Back on the Train” (from 2000’s Farmhouse) and “Miss You” (from last year’s Big Boat). Although none of the songs he played are explicitly acoustic vehicles, they speak to an approach that began years ago once Anastasio noticed some of Phish’s songs were lacking a certain quality when stripped of Page McConnell’s keyboards or Mike Gordon’s bass.
“The ultimate example is the Beatles’ ‘Something,’” Anastasio once said in an interview. “It's such a simple song that you can sit down and play it on acoustic guitar and it sounds great. Only then did the Beatles add that elaborate orchestration. It always begins with that. A lot of the Phish songs were so far gone that if you start taking all the parts off, they didn't hold up anymore.”
Anastasio has occasionally performed sans electric guitar, including during tours with his solo band, where Phish’s “Heavy Things” or “Flock of Words” from his self-titled debut received the acoustic treatment. The instrumental “The Inlaw Josie Wales,” which premiered on an Anastasio solo tour in 1999 and was recorded for Farmhouse, is a rare example of a completely acoustic Phish song, propelled only by Anastasio’s guitar and McConnell’s piano. Even rarer is the full Anastasio acoustic gig—he performed at the Rothbury Music Festival in Rothbury, Mich., in 2008 accompanied by just a guitar, performing Phish songs and a pair of solo tracks.
Following the March dates, Anastasio heads out on the road with his solo band for a run of dates beginning with two sold-out shows at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., April 14-15. (Click here for tickets.) He is also scheduled to perform at a number of festivals later this year, including Wanee, SweetWater 420 Fest, DelFest, Summer Camp Music Festival and High Sierra. The full list can be found on Anastasio’s website.