Canadiana Week: Karla Anderson

Last week, I posted a video featuring Karla Anderson, a singer/songwriter from near Edmonton. At that time, I promised to tell you more about Karla and her new album. Now is that time.

I was first introduced to Karla Anderson on the opening night of the 2005 Americana Music Conference in Nashville while waiting in line for one of the many live concerts/free buffets (Burrito Deluxe at the Mercy Lounge… if I remember correctly) the conference had to offer. It was there that I first met Karla’s manager, Neil MacGonigill. We started talking, and by the time our conversation was over, I had in my hands a copy of Karla’s 2005 debut album, The Embassy Sessions.
At this point, Karla’s music had already been featured in the CBS television series Joan of Arcadia, but her album was brand new and had not yet been released in The States. As far as I know, I was the first DJ in America to be given a copy of the CD*. I played it in my hotel room that night (I always traveled with a portable CD player to music conferences), and found it to be quite the enjoyable late night listen. A few weeks later, I became the first American DJ to play Karla’s music on the air*.
*(Note that I cannot actually verify either of these claims other than to say that I really believe them to be true. Either way… if I wasn’t THE first, I was certainly in near the ground floor.)
The Embassy Sessions was recorded over the course of a few short days at the Red Motel Embassy in Calgary in early 2005. The resulting album was a warm and quiet affair that helped Karla earn recognition as the Best New/Emerging Artist at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Her career looked to be off to a promising start.
That was five years ago though, and Karla’s been relatively quiet since then… choosing to focus more on her family than her career. She played some shows and recorded sparsely, but did not record the follow up to The Embassy Sessions until now. It seems to have been worth the wait.
Like her previous record, Brand New Day was banged out in a brief, two day recording session. That’s where most of the similarities end, however. Unlike Embassy, which was essentially a solo acoustic record with little additional accompaniment, Brand New Day has more of a full band sound in places. Karla expands her sound by adding various electric and steel guitars along with keys and increased percussive elements.
The biggest evidence of this comes on the album’s second song, “With Tenderness.” The track is kicked off with a shuffling drumbeat and a rolling bass line topped with electric guitar flourishes. The result is an ominous sounding track that contrasts nicely with Karla’s lyrics about lethal levels of kindness and love. Similarly, “Glory Bound” branches out a bit as well. This time, however, it’s a wash of acoustic guitars that build the tempo and elevate the song.
Fans of Karla’s previous work will be happy with the record as well, as this disc also holds its share of quieter moments. It’s bookended by two short tracks (“Prelude” & “Reprise”) that essentially serve as the album’s title tracks and revisit that haunting Embassy Sessions sound. Then, sitting right there in the middle of the album, are two heart stopping covers in “Bye Bye Love” (Felice & Boudleaux Bryant) and “I Dream an Old Lover” (Jeffery Foucoult). She boils both songs down to their most essential elements by slowing the tempo and finding the emotion in each word.
In all, Brand New Day is a solid sophomore effort from Karla Anderson and one that should please her old fans while also reaching out to new ones. I just hope we don’t have to wait five more years for her next release.
Karla Anderson: Glory Bound (Buy Album)
Karla Anderson: Bye Bye Love (Buy Album)

One Response to “Canadiana Week: Karla Anderson”

  1. Thanks for the full songs. I really think her voice has improved since the first outing. I need to get me this one.

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