Eric Anders – Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders

Eric Anders - Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders

Eric Anders – Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders

San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Eric Anders is a long-serving veteran, as evidenced by his musical history and recent compilation album Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders.  Twelve tracks from Anders’ five previous releases were remastered by Jeff Peters (The Beach Boys, Brian Setzer) for this collection.  Anders is an independent artist who dons the mantle of an Americana troubadour and twilight-time raconteur on captivating tunes that are imbued with his haunting vocal and lyrical resonance.

Dusky shadows and ethereal light combine on the songs that float and ramble through Big World Abide, from the restless press of the title track to the smolder of “These People”, the brisk Americana of “Remembering On My Own”, the symphonic strings drama of “Looking Forward To Your Fall”, the sinuous, trembling violin lines on “Never Enough”, and the diffuse ambience of “Settlin’ Comes”.  All of the songs are tied by Anders’ hushed, heartfelt vocal delivery that is tinged with a Jeff Buckely-like knowing wistfulness.

The first two tracks of the compilation were taken from Anders’ breakthrough album Tethered To The Ground and feature Trespassers William band members Ross Simonini on bass and Anna-Lynne Williams on backing vocals.  Matt Brown, the guitarist of Trespassers Williams, produced that album.  “Tethered To The Ground” casts a hypnotic spell with its low-key guitar strum, velvety cymbal crashes, and subdued pull of strings.  “Big World Abide” broadens the view with a jazzy up-tempo rhythm, piano plunks, a supple bass line, and a winding keyboards.  Anders softly yearns, “From the big world we’ll ever hide / Not abide…” as Williams’ light vocals brush by his.

Anders switches to plaintive alt-folk for “Remains In Me”, backed by acoustic guitar strumming, swooping steel guitar lines, and an emphatic drum beat.  He travels through Americana (with a touch of tribal hand drums) on “Remembering On My Own”, employing a gentle twang on the melodic lines, “Waitin’ for that someone to come along / Who’ll lighten all my loads / And sing my song.”  The Violent Femmes’ classic “Blister In The Sun” gets the re-make treatment and the listener would be hard-pressed to find the sonic connection between the original and the cover.  Anders slows it down tremendously, his pining vocals holding back a reserve of emotion as the acoustic guitar strum and deep strings create a mournful atmosphere.

An ominous vibe creeps into “Icarus” despite Anders’ subtle, Chris Isaak-like delivery.  He enunciates his words with a spare intonation amid wavering guitar reverb and metallic-sounding drum hits.  “Looking Forward To Your Fall” brings out a swell of symphonic strings and a continual marching drum beat.  Anders raises the intensity of his vocals to match the vivid sonics, exclaiming, “I’m looking forward to your fall.”

He softens his vocals on the sunset-hued “Settlin’ Comes”, singing in a light and earnest tone against the swaying syncopation, “…could you look right back at me / Say it’s not a lie / Could you see me as the settlin’ kind?”  Anders’ restless musings and sonics never let the listener get thoroughly comfortable as he ponders over human connection and isolation and institutionalized injustice.  The wandering, searching nature of Anders’ songs is what draws the listener into his world.

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