Celestial Inspiration: Harp Guitarist Muriel Anderson Talks New Album, 'Eclipse'

Muriel Anderson with her short-scale Mike Brittain harp guitar.

Muriel Anderson with her short-scale Mike Brittain harp guitar.
(Image: © Bryan Allen)

When Muriel Anderson grabbed her harp guitar to help pass the time during the recent solar full eclipse this past summer, she didn’t realize the impact it would have. As she sat on the lawn of the capitol building in Nashville, strangers started calling out a celestial wish list, and she readily complied.

Now Anderson has reignited this inspired spontaneity, capturing it on Eclipse, her newest full-length. Consisting of beautifully crafted covers and imaginative originals, the collection fully embraces lunar and solar references and comes in a package that doubles as a nifty eclipse-themed greeting card.

“It was one of those inspired projects that just fell together,” Anderson says. “There’s a real wonder of nature that happens when you see the eclipse. There’s something bigger than you. It’s really breathtaking in a way. And part of it was the shared experience of the people around us. They had flown in from all over the world.”

(Image: © Bryan Allen)

Anderson carefully selected songs that compliment that feeling of wonder. “I wrote a tune called ‘Totality’ that has a minor and a major section. The idea is that one minor note can make the major part so much more beautiful, just like the way minor notes in your life can make the major parts more beautiful. And about how that relates to that moment of totality in the eclipse,” she says.

The collection includes familiar tunes like “Both Sides Now,” “Moondance” and, of course, “Here Comes the Sun.” Each song is arranged for Anderson’s unique harp guitar, resulting in gorgeously crafted re-imaginings. “My harp guitar gives the songs a lot more possibilities, because in addition to the sub-basses I have super-trebles… nearly the range of a grand piano. So some really high sparkly notes are interspersed there.” This adds to the lovely and refreshingly magical quality of the collection.

Anderson—one of the world’s foremost guitarists and harp-guitarists, and the first woman to win the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship—has performed with the legendary Chet Atkins and Les Paul and continues to thrill audiences with her unique and joyous style.