Album Review: Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders
Review by Joseph Timmons: IndiePulse Music Magazine
The Music of Eric Anders a vast and open valley of emotion and sensation, the singer / songwriter spirit is strong in a man who, in a small succession of years has compiled a body of work that would set him apart from his contemporaries.
Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders is not a “best of collection”, in no way is it just a handful of “Top Hits” that would be a reclamation of heyday remembrances of his youth or stardom. this is the living body of work that to the world, a man’s soul exposed and expressed in music and verse. this is like the intimate between lovers, the midnight hour that seems to last forever, the secret stuff of romance. truth and wisdom set to immortality that makes two into one.
With a sound that is reminiscent of both Neil Young and Bob Dylan, yet the new and youthful driving energy embossed sound of rock groups like Foo Fighters and Audioslave, Eric Anders has taken his soft spoken lyrical compositions, set to an almost solely Electro – Acoustic marriage of Joyful expression and Introspective “Self Aware” admitting of past sins.
Big World Abide is both for the lovers seeking passionate moments to steal into the dark shadows, away from prying eyes to mingle flesh and souls, and of the lonely broken hearted lover trying to remember what it was like to be, at one time in their lives, happy. his words float in the air like the “Love me, Love me not” petals plucked my millions of young women over the span of time, and the bitter sting of the break up call you get standing at a payphone of a greyhound station in the pouring rain. His chilling and emotion spun rendition of “Blister In The Sun” takes what some think was the anthem of reckless youth, and reforms it, tones it, into the magical love song it was meant to be.
Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders is the modern folk based anthology we have been waiting to hear, and will never forget.
About Eric Anders
Californian singer-songwriter, Eric Anders, got into writing and recording songs late in life and then tried to make up for lost time by releasing four critically acclaimed CDs in four years: Not At One (2003), Songs For Wayward Days (2004), More Regrets (2005) and Tethered to the Ground (2006).
For his debut album, Not At One, Eric teamed up with Mark O-Bitz (songwriting), Richard Barron (production) and the members of The Sugarplum Fairies, Benny Bohm (songwriting, preproduction) and Silvia Ryder (preproduction).
Jeff Peters mixed Not At One, and would end up producing Eric’s second release, Songs for Wayward Days, an anti-Bush political EP released a few months before the 2004 election. Though the election was disappointing, Eric was fortunate to have worked on this EP with Cracker bassist, Davey Faragher, and Elvis Costello’s drummer, Pete Thomas.
Not long after playing slide guitar for Warren Zevon’s Grammy-winning album, The Wind, Randy Mitchell helped Eric out with his majestic guitar on both Not At One and Songs for Wayward Days. Eric and Randy would team up for More Regrets, Eric’s second full-length release. Randy was the producer and primary musician for More Regrets. Eric wrote a couple of the songs with Randy and the rest with his usual songwriting collaborator, Mark O’Bitz.
Eric is most proud of his third full-length release, Tethered to the Ground. Eric teamed up with Mark O’Bitz again for the songwriting for most of the songs. Mark and Eric presented their cover of the Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun” to the song’s writer, Gordon Gano. Their very different version won Gano’s approval and the VF frontman allowed them to release their cover with its altered lyrics. Music Critic Mark Wilson called the cover “astounding”: “With some approved lyric tweaking, Anders’ slowed-down, ethereal take turns the song from an ’80s party anthem to a tale of romantic exhaustion and resignation.”
Whereas Eric’s prior releases were all produced and mixed in Los Angeles, Eric’s next two releases would be produced in Seattle. Producer-guitarist Matt Brown (Trespassers William) would have a huge impact on Eric’s sound on these two releases: Tethered to the Ground and Remains In Me. On Tethered to the Ground, Trespassers William band members Ross Simonini (Bass) and Anna-Lynne Williams (backing vocals) would also have a significant impact on the album’s sound: several beautiful arrangements by Ross, and some simply amazing backing vocals by Anna-Lynne.
Eric was inspired by Michael Apted’s 1992 documentary, Incident at Oglala, to write the politically charged songs on his 2011 release, Remains In Me. The songs were written with either Mark O’Bitz or Benny Bohm. Matt Brown brought together some amazing musicians for this project. Eric is especially appreciative to Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan) for his amazing electric guitar, and to the incomparable Lindsay Fuller for her wonderful acoustic guitar. Anna-Lynne, Matt, Jeff and Lindsay were four of Seattle’s premier musicians at the time of these recordings, and Eric was very grateful to all of them for working with him.
Jeff Peters, who mixed four of Eric’s releases, would remaster the songs compiled for his 2016 release, Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders. Both Jeff and Eric are pleasantly surprised that this compilation of songs–songs from very unique releases, rather different times, and with a wide variety of players and producers–have all come together to sound like a cohesive whole, like an album. What holds it all together is Eric: his voice (“a voice that combines James Taylor’s grounded poignancy with Jeff Buckley’s complex ethereality”), his lyrics (“words that can—and will—open your eyes”) and his songs (“exploring isolation, loss and love with an uncanny truth that casts a powerful spell”). Eric is currently working on his next release with Mark O’Bitz and Matt Brown.
Production: Matt Brown for Tethered and Remains in Me. Randy Mitchell for More Regrets. Richard Barron and I produced Not At One. His first four releases were mixed by Jeff Peters and Mastered by Chris Solem at Future Disc. Remains In Me was mixed and mastered by Matt Brown.
Tethered to the Ground (Tethered to the Ground) – 3:35
Big World Abide (Tethered to the Ground) – 4:32
Remains In Me (Remains In Me) – 4:21
These People (Tethered to the Ground) – 3:09
Remembering On My Own (More Regrets) – 3:19
Blister in the Sun (Tethered to the Ground)- 3:18
Icarus (More Regrets) – 4:12
Genocide and Justice (Remains In Me) – 5:11
Looking Forward to Your Fall (Tethered to the Ground) – 4:42
Never Enough (Not At One) – 3:33
Settlin’ Comes (More Regrets) – 3:27
How Low and Why (Tethered to the Ground) – 4:07