Archive for the Kasey Anderson Category

Kasey Anderson & The Honkies: Heart of a Dog

Posted in Kasey Anderson on January 31, 2011 by AmericanaPulse

From the opening sonic assault of “The Wrong Light,” the leadoff track of Kasey Anderson’s new album Heart of a Dog, it is clear that the Portland songwriter is going for something different on his fifth full-length record.  The album begins with a barrage of fuzzed out guitars and an almost industrial sounding drum beat while Anderson’s distorted vocals sing of kamikaze women and wolves at the window.  The result is a much heavier sound than anything on Anderson’s previous album Nowhere Nights.  It actually reminds one a little bit of “Prelude” from Chip Robinson’s Mylow record, which isn’t surprising since Anderson co-wrote the track with Robinson’s producer (and Nowhere Nights producer) Eric Ambel.

While the album never again reaches the same level of darkness or fury, the opening track certainly sets the tone.  Anderson has made a Rock & Roll record, and he aims to let you know it right off the bat.  “Mercy,” the album’s second track, and one of its standouts, also brings the electric guitars, but adds some horns and piano to the mix to create a fuller and more melodic sound.  Anderson says this is a song he’s tried to record before, but was never quite happy with how it turned out.  Until now.

In fact, a few of the songs here were rescued from earlier recording sessions that didn’t quite turn out the way Anderson had hoped.  He credits his band, The Honkies with helping him find how some of those songs fit together.  With Andrew McKeag on guitar, Eric Corson on bass, and Mike Musburger on drums, Anderson says he was able to just go into a studio with his friends and record a rock record.

The evidence of that is all over the place.  Whether it’s the tongue in cheek “My Baby’s a Wrecking Ball” or the Dylanesquely titled “Kasey Anderson’s Dream” or the crunchy blues of “Revisionist History Blues,” Anderson and the Honkies follow in lockstep with their rock and roll muse.  Even the ramped up cover of The English Beat’s “Save it For Later” strips the original of all of its New Wave trappings and turns it into a full on rave.  It’s so far from the original that, on my first listen, I only recognized the song from the lyrics.  I love it when a cover can so completely transform the original tune and still work so well on its own.

Heart of a Dog comes out February 15 from Anderson’s own Red River Records, but you can pre-order it now from Anderson’s website.  As per Anderson’s request from the record’s liner notes, you should always “play this record loud.”

Kasey Anderson & The Honkies: Mercy (Buy Album)

Best of 2010: 18-16

Posted in Kasey Anderson, Mary Gauthier, Tim Lee 3, Top 21 of 2010 on December 18, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

#18 – Raucous Americanus by Tim Lee 3

The city of Knoxville produced some pretty astounding music this year.  That’s why I’m a little surprised that this two disc release from Tim Lee 3 is the only local album on this year’s list (apologies are due to Sam Quinn, R.B. Morris, Mic Harrison, Greg Horne, and Karen Reynolds among others).

Tim Lee is not a native Knoxvillian.  His roots reach further south where he first rose to prominence in Mississippi in the 80’s jangle pop band The Windbreakers.  Over his thirty year music career, Lee released a handful of records with The Windbreakers, toured as a member of his friend Mitch Easter’s band Let’s Active, and recorded a few solo albums.  He settled in Knoxville with his wife Susan Bauer Lee at the beginning of this past decade, and the two of them formed TL3 in 2006.  With Tim on guitars and vocals, Susan on bass and vocals, and Matt Honkonen on drums and vocals, the band has found something special on their third studio release.

Raucous Americanus is a rock record… two of them in fact.  It’s the only two-disc album to make the list.  The reason the record is so successful is that, even at 21 tracks and nearly an hour-and-a-half, it never feels like too much or becomes to familiar.  The songs were culled from three different recording sessions with three different producers in three different states.  Add to that the fact that Tim and Susan swap lead vocals from song to song, and there is enough variety to keep things fresh the whole way through.  From jangly pop to trippy Americana to full on rock, Tim Lee 3 released one of the most varied and satisfying albums of the year.

Tim Lee 3: Salty Tears (Buy Album)

#17 – Nowhere Nights by Kasey Anderson

I’ve told the story a couple of times now of how I first came across Kasey Anderson.  However, it’s time for me to stop talking about Anderson as the guy who I used to know as a fellow poster on the message boards at altcountrytab, and start talking about him only as a legitimate musician.  He’s earned that much for sure as the head of his own Red River Records label and a fine songwriter with five strong albums to his credit (and a new one coming in February).

At its core Nowhere Nights is a personal tale about a restless soul who has spent too much time in one place and needs to move on.  For Anderson, that place was Bellingham, WA, a place he lived for eight years and felt he had to leave.  At times, Anderson wistfully contemplates a tidy cutting of ties.  Other times, he seems ready to take a scorched earth approach and burn down everything around him.  Either way… he gets his point across.  Anderson lives in Portland now.

Update: Get a free sampler with three songs from Nowhere Nights and four songs from the new album at Anderson’s website.

Kasey Anderson: Bellingham Blues (Buy Album)

#16 – The Foundling by Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier is a veteran artist.  She’s released six studio albums, been the recipient of an Americana Music Award, and had her songs covered by artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Blake Shelton to Fred Eaglesmith.  She’s an accomplished chef who once ran her own restaurant in Boston, and she’s an accomplished musician who has played shows all over the country and all over the world.

Mary Gauthier is also an orphan.

That piece of information is central to her 2010 album The Foundling.  A deeply confessional album that is essentially Gauthier’s story told through song.  It deals with her journey as an orphan, her search for answers in her life, and her coming to grips with the answers she found and those she was denied.  It’s as personal an album as I’ve ever heard, and one that can be difficult to listen to at times due to the raw emotions involved.  It’s those emotions, however, that make the album great and worth spending time with.

Mary Gauthier: Goodbye (Buy Album)

Interview with Kasey Anderson & Chip Robinson

Posted in Chip Robinson, Kasey Anderson on April 19, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

We had quite a fine day of music at WDVX earlier today when Kasey Anderson (top) and Chip Robinson (bottom) joined us for a Blue Plate Special.

Both artists have new records out on Kasey’s Red River Records label, and I spoke about each of them briefly last week. Both are deeply personal albums that tell a full story from beginning to end. In Kasey’s case, Nowhere Nights tells of his departures from a physical place and space of mind while burning bridges and mending fences as he left. Chip’s Mylow chronicles his time doing what he calls “trying to stay alive” over the past decade when he was away from the music industry.
I’m sharing two songs from today’s performances here. Both are intimate, acoustic readings of songs from the new records.
After the show, I spent some time with Kasey and Chip talking about the new albums, Chip’s history with The Backsliders, Kasey’s blogging, and various other topics. I’m sharing our conversation with you as well. The interview did not air at WDVX… this is the only place to hear it.
Kasey Anderson: Bellingham Blues (Buy Album)
Chip Robinson: Wings (Buy Album)
My Interview with Kasey Anderson & Chip Robinson

Monday Blue Plate Special: Kasey Anderson, Chip Robinson, & Carrie Rodriguez

Posted in Carrie Rodruguez, Chip Robinson, Kasey Anderson on April 16, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Monday is going to be a big day on the WDVX Blue Plate Special, and I wanted to give everyone enough of a heads up that you’ll have time to plan accordingly. Monday’s show will be a triple bill featuring songwriter Kasey Anderson, former Backslider’s frontman Chip Robinson, and Texas fiddler/chanteuse Carrie Rodriguez (Kasey and Chip will also play Monday night at The Preservation Pub). The Blue Plate Special will be aired live Monday at Noon (Eastern) on WDVX’s website.

If you want to know more about Carrie Rodriguez and her new collection of covers, Love and Circumstance, you can check out what boyhowdy had to say over at Cover Lay Down. I think it might still be too early to share this one here.
Today, we’re going to focus on Kasey Anderson & Chip Robinson.
First up, we’ll talk about Kasey Anderson. Kasey is a songwriter from the Northwest who I’ve known for years now as a fellow poster on the message boards at the Alt-Country Tab website. I’ve been relatively absent from that site for a while now, but I’ve kept an ear on Kasey for the last year or so. I’ve been consistently impressed with what I’ve heard.
His latest effort, Nowhere Nights, is out now on his own Red River Records. It’s a powerful and fiery record about leaving, moving on, and facing the consequences of the journey. With songs like “Bellingham Blues,” “Torn Apart,” and the title track, Kasey makes you feel the asphalt under your feet and the match in your hand as he runs off and burns bridges on his way out of town.
Here’s an mp3 of the rocking “Torn Apart” and the video for the haunting “I Was a Photograph.” The latter tells the story of U.S. Marine James Blake Miller and his troubles since returning from Iraq.
Kasey Anderson: Torn Apart (Buy Album)

Next up is Chip Robinson. Chip is making a triumphant return to music after a decade long absence with his new solo project, Mylow. Chip got his start as front man for the North Carolina based alt-country outfit, The Backsliders, in the late 1990’s. The Backsliders made two amazing records together before disbanding at the end of the decade. Chip has been largely absent from the music scene since then.

With Mylow’s opening track, “Preface,” we find out where he’s been. The song paints a picture of a man trapped in a “dark and empty place” where he battles countless demons and is beyond the reach of any helping hands. As the album proceeds, Chip faces those demons and pulls himself out of the spiral. The anthemic chorus of the title track reminds us all that… no matter what we’ve been through… everything will work out if we just keep our heads up.
Chip Robinson: Mylow (Buy Album)
Here’s a bonus YouTube vid of Chip doing one of his classic Backsliders tunes.

Kasey Anderson: Way Out West

Posted in Kasey Anderson on June 11, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

A few years back, I was a constant reader and infrequent poster on the message boards at AltCountryTab… a site dedicated to the discussion of alternative country music (…and a lot of drooling over Paul Westerberg). Several of the posters were musicians themselves and would occasionally post some of their original works and a few cover tracks. Most of them were just doing it for fun or as some sort of virtual jam session with others on the boards. I never really paid much attention to the music that was posted and mainly just focused on the discussions.

I did take notice of one artist, however, who actually seemed to be a little more serious about his music and was attempting to make a career of it. Still… for some reason… I never got around to listening to his music. Not sure why… I just didn’t.

But when I got an email recently asking me to review a new collection of covers from Kasey Anderson, the name instantly registered in my head. I figured it was time to give him a shot. When I first listened to Way Out West, what I heard was a diverse collection of source materials that somehow found a common ground through Anderson’s sound and voice. Songs originally recorded by artists from all over the musical map all sound right at home on this album. The Arcade Fire’s “Keep the Car Running” stands side by side with Keith Urban’s “Days Go By” and Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live is to Fly.”

The unifying element on these tracks is Anderson’s slightly distorted vocals and fuzzy guitars that give the whole thing a decidedly lo-fi, indie sound. In fact, Anderson recorded the whole thing at home, by himself, on his laptop in just a week’s time.

Anderson says Way Out West was mostly an attempt to pay tribute to some of his influences and give his fans something to tide them over until he can put out some original material later this year. What he gave us was some fresh takes on ten old favorites. He also gave me a reason to go back and check out some of those tunes I neglected during my days at AltCountryTab. Maybe you’ll do the same.

Here’s Kasey Anderson’s take on The Arcade Fire’s “Keep the Car Running.”

Kasey Anderson: Keep the Car Running (Buy Album)