Inside Scoop: Edward David Anderson
As a lead up to his show at the taproom on Friday night at 7:00 (probably his 6th or 7th show at the brewery!), our own Shelbi Lawson caught up with Edward David Anderson to learn a little more about what makes him tick...
Edward David Anderson has transitioned from band member to solo artist in the last 7 years. He’s enjoyed both being in a band and being on his own for different reasons: making music with friends as well as going out on his own, traveling with his wife, and having the freedom to play his own songs however he feels when the occasion calls for it. He defines his music as “Black Dirt Music”, which is “Roots music cultivated in the fertile soil of the Midwest.” Anderson loves the Midwest, because it’s home. In his words, the area has “lots of cornfields, soybeans. Pretty flat, but when that sun is setting over rows of deep green on a hot summer night, its as charming as any place on earth”.
When I asked Anderson what inspires him in the beginnings of writing a song, he said that he will simply hear a phrase or say something that sounds like a song to him. He’ll then start playing with it on the guitar or banjo, and filling in the pieces to see where it takes him. He enjoys reading because it helps and encourages him to write. He says it’s an active process where he tries to stay open and scribble down ideas as they come to him. His newest album, “Chasing Butterflies”, is something that Anderson worked hard on and means a lot to him. “First let me say I loved working with producer Jimmy Nutt and the Muscle Shoals crew. A bunch of bad assess. It was a whirlwind of an experience that happened fast. Probably a good thing, as I couldn't overthink it. We cut it mainly live together over the course of 2 days. Arranged everything on the fly.”
The title track, “Chasing Butterflies”, is about a friend of Anderson’s who he played music with down on the coast during the winter. The verses are based around stories he told, and while he feels the story is based on his friends life, the chorus of the song is universal, “Like we're all sort of out there chasing butterflies in the wind, searching for something to grab on to in this crazy life. Trying to figure out where we fit it and what it all means”. Writing helps Anderson “make sense of it all, it’s therapeutic and carefree. These songs, this album, it’s my way of working through the hard times and celebrating the joyful. It really is the story of my life”. One of his newer songs, “South Wind,” was inspired from his time spent down on the Gulf Coast. Living across the street from the beach in Gulf Shores has taught Anderson that when there’s a south wind, you can hear the waves and smell the sea, and when there’s a north wind blowing, it’s just cold. Another tune on his new album -- entitled “Harmony" -- tells a story of colors working together harmonically on a canvas and humans living harmoniously together on earth. For Anderson, it sets the tone of the entire record and speaks to how he feels about living peacefully.
One of Anderson’s albums is titled “Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions.” I asked him what inspired this album and what went into making it. In his own words, he told me: “I had seen Anthony Crawford play with Neil Young, met him at a Grayson Capps show a couple of weeks after we first got down here (six winters ago!), and learned he had a little studio set up. The following winter I went out to his place in the woods in Loxley and hung out and got to know him better and recorded nine songs. Just sang and played guitar. Really to just get the songs down and more importantly, to get to know Anthony. I went out and did road work and returned in a month and went back down the red dirt road in Loxley to hear what he was up to. I was astounded. He played fiddle, pedal steel, bass, drums, piano, lap steel and built this amazing recording around those "demos" I cut that random afternoon. He even got Savana to sing harmonies and Will Kimbrough to play guitar. After we listened to the nine songs he looked at me and said ‘I think we've got a record here!’ That's how ‘Lower Alabama: The Loxley Sessions’ came to be.”
During the downtime between shows for Anderson, he and his wife love to get outdoors in the woods. Before “Chasing Butterflies” came out, they hiked 200 miles on the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, GA, to Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. He described it as, “unreal” and “beautifully brutal.” He said that experience really taught them how to be hikers, and was the coolest thing he had ever done. When I asked Anderson anything we should expect from his performance this weekend, he had this to say, “expect a bearded dude playing a bunch of different instruments, singing songs, and drinking good beer”.
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