Anderson East – Fulminate Start Into The New Year With “ENCORE” – Album Review

Anderson East – ENCORE available on iTunes.

anderson east

by A. Michael Uhlmann

 

Anderson East’s sophomore album “ENCORE” – released on Friday (1/12) – lives up to the expectations the title may suggest, it’s a great follow up to his major debut “DELILAH.” Miranda Lambert’s new beau is suddenly all over the map, from NPR’s First Listen to the HuffPost and he deserves it. He and producer Dave Cobb are setting a high standard, for what’s coming out from the music city on the Cumberland, very early 2018.

Even though Nashville-based, Alabamian Michael Anderson aka East is not a country artist, the only thing remotely country is his romantical relationship and him covering Willie Nelson’s 20-year old standout from “TEATRO” “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.” which with its background choir and arrangement sounds more Joe Cocker than the subdued Texas troubadour. Yes, Anderson digs deeper into the swampy soundscape, like a Delbert McClinton, a Tony Joe White or Irishman Van Morrison his music has no boundaries, he embeds Southern Soul, R&B, Gospel and even Pop into his oeuvre.

The folk-bluesy Ted Hawkins song, the funny “Sorry You’re Sick,” from the ’82 debut album “WATCH YOUR STEP” with its lyrics:

What do want from the liquor store
Something sour or something sweet
I’ll buy all that your belly can hold.
You can be sure you won’t suffer no more.
now roars and make the offer to help out as a doctor even more insisting.

On six of the nine originals, East again partners with songwriter Aaron Raitiere, who now writes for producer Dave Cobb’s stable, as does Adam Hood who appears as the third co-writer on “Surrender,” a song that could be straight out of Ike and Tina Turner’s songbook.

Natalie Hemby, who had ten songs recorded by Lambert “FOR THE WEIGHT OF THESE WINGS” and released her own album ‘PUXICO” last year, completes the trio on “This Too Shall Last” and “House Is A Building.” latter a song that life is only complete when the partner is in it, where the house as a building becomes a home with feeling.
Old friend Chris Stapleton helped on the slow heartbreaker “If You Keep Leaving Me”/I keep loving you and he and his wife Morgane got together with Anderson to write “King For A Day” while they were on tour together. Even though not a boiler, the simmering piece with Stapleton as a guest on the six-string, is one of best songs on the album.

And even if your heart can’t
Look my way
Even if our love can’t
Stay together
I’d rather be king for a day
Than a fool forever

“All On My Mind” was a sketch brought to East by Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol and that song does not fit on “Encore.” With its lush strings and a subdued Anderson, it sounds like this is the one song the record label will push onto the radio to make Anderson East into the star they want him to be. He’s better than that.
At the very end of the album is another outstanding, yet somber storyteller “Cabinet Door”; from the perspective of an elderly widower trying to cope with the loss of his wife, East and Jillia Jackson wrote a lyrical gem of how to try to cope with everyday life after your partner of many years has passed:

I found your old cookbooks but the biscuits ain’t right
How do you work this damn coffee pot?
And all my shirt tails are wrinkled but the bed is still made
Cause your smell still lingers on where you laid

Again pairing with non-mainstream producer Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) the album seems to have an organic feel to it, still embracing the tradition but with an updated more modern approach to it. Cobb was not only at the helm of the board, but also participated as a musician and a co-writer on “Girlfriend” with help from Swedish pop icon Avicii, Raitiere and East. With its infatuation lyrics and it’s lush synth (Moog) sound, lusting after a friend’s fiancee is a romp on the disc. Too bad he couldn’t transfer that energy to the live performance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Brother, we might have a problem
Cause she’s staring me down and I’m tempted
And I ain’t going to say I’m sorry now
I think I’m in love with your girlfriend

Anderson starts his tour behind “ENCORE” in Europe, so friends in the UK, Germany, and Sweden take notice. He will then come back and tour in the US, starting in Dallas in February. You find his touring schedule on his website.

JAN 24 – Omera – London, UK (sold out)
JAN 26 – Blaues Zimmer, Musik & Frieden – Berlin, DE
JAN 27 – Nochtspeicher – Hamburg, DE (sold out)
JAN 28 – Music Hall – Worpswede, DE
JAN30 – Kagalbanan Soedra Teatern, Stockholm, SE

 

ANDERSON EAST

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