Downers Grove

Muriel Anderson to return for 30th hometown concert in Downers Grove

DOWNERS GROVE – Guitarist/harp-guitarist Muriel Anderson will share new tunes set against visual backdrops from her recent sailing adventure when she returns to her hometown of Downers Grove for an evening of world-class acoustic music, stories and celebration including a surprise guest and a chance to win a new guitar.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of her Saturday-after-Thanksgiving concerts.

The show will be presented both in-person and via livestream. Anderson will appear at 8 p.m. Nov. 27 in a different location than usual: the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1047 Curtiss St. in Downers Grove.

The first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, Anderson embraces music from all over the world, moving seamlessly between folk, classical, bluegrass and international.

With 2020 upending the world, Anderson was able to take a two-month voyage last year aboard a small sailboat exploring the Atlantic coastline as she and Bryan Allen headed to Maine. Shown during the Downers Grove concert, Allen’s video footage of the trip will transport audience members.

In a phone interview, Anderson called the trip a chance to travel back in time on an old sailboat, a journey that proved to be “soul clearing” – even as they found themselves outrunning storms to find safe harbor.

“It inspired a whole bunch of new music that I’ll be sharing with everyone,” she said.

Allen’s latest featured video at chronicles how Anderson composed one of her new pieces at sea, called “Favorable Winds.”

She said the song is addressed to the wind, asking it to go in a favorable direction.

“People are really going to experience the whole thing through the images behind me and the new music,” Anderson said.

The Downers Grove appearance is one of a few back-in-person concerts for Anderson since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I did a couple of shows in upstate New York in person,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed the in-person experience and felt the energy of the audience. … There is something really personal about being there live.”

Those who catch her show via livestream also will benefit from that interactive energy. A perk that online viewers can opt to add to their ticket is the homemade fudge for which the Anderson family of Downers Grove is known.

She said people can pick up tickets at Anderson’s Bookshop and Tobias Music or visit her website at

The new concert location is an added homecoming for Anderson. The building is home to the Two Way Street Coffee House.

“[It’s] the first place I ever played professionally. [I’m] coming back to my roots,” she said.

Among Anderson’s many accolades, her CD “Nightlight Daylight” was chosen as one of the top 10 CDs of the decade by Guitar Player Magazine, and her “Heartstrings” recording accompanied the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery. Among those she has performed or recorded with are Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Victor Wooten, Tommy Emmanuel and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.

With a thought to holiday gift giving, people who love music and food can check out her most recent release, ”Acoustic Chef,” a CD of music from around the world with a cookbook of recipes and stories to go with each tune.

Concert ticket options

Tickets to the live concert cost $25 for adults, $17 for seniors age 65 and older and students through high school. They include a memento from the sailing trip and a chance to win a new guitar courtesy of Tobias Music. There is limited seating. Tickets are available online at and at Anderson’s Bookshop and Tobias Music in Downers Grove.

The online “full experience” ticket for $25 includes a half pound of homemade fudge, while supplies last, plus a chance to win a new guitar. There’s also a $17 ticket without the fudge, which includes a chance to win a guitar. A link for the livestream will be sent a week before the concert to those who purchase a livestream ticket at

Check out all her projects at They include her long-running All Star Guitar Night and new TrueFire channel, which brings her in-demand teaching to a wider audience.

As always, a portion of the concert proceeds go to Anderson’s Music for Life Alliance, helping to bring music education to young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Renee Tomell

Renee Tomell

Covering the arts and entertainment scene in northern Illinois, with a focus on the Fox River Valley.