Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

ANDREW ANDERSON

As Long As This Thing's Flyin'

2011-03-19

FCC Alert: 10 “Hell On Earth”

Nick's Picks: 03 Necessary Casualties, 06 The Hawk, 14 As Long As This Thing's Flyin'

Andrew Anderson is a 23 year old Idaho-native who is new to the Austin music scene. On this first album, As Long As This Thing’s Flyin’, he demonstrates his grasp of nature, big business, big government, and on a personal level, he wrestles with his own juxtaposition - perpetually foiled in love and righteousness, and trapped in a corrupt world. Much of this first cd is a well-crafted tip of the hat to his bluegrass fans. “Send The Bastard Running” attempts to follow the same genre, but with a slight veer toward current country-rock. I am not sure the meaning of the words, but I get a feeling that western justice seems to be the focal point of this song. In “Necessary Casualties” Andrew tells of loss and poverty, a protest song that skewers the dark heart of self-serving capitalism while celebrating those who fight for change with a song and a smile. He rebukes the country’s leaders, “I don’t see your sons heading off to war. All I see are the sons of the laid off, the jobless, the poor,” and he sings with such earnestness that no one could mistake his righteous attitude as an act. It is not mentioned anywhere in his biography, but I can detect a smidgeon of Old Crow Medicine Show influence, as well as a smattering of Neil Young-type lyrics (“Once Met A Girl”, “Fists Up, Chin Down”). Having said that, though, lyrically, Anderson is very much at home when he's drawing from personal experience (“A Year Tomorrow”, "Old Dusty Trail", “Oh, That Lonesome Sound”), than when he's trying to draw from someone else's experience (“Filling In The Gaps”). Altogether, though, his songwriting is apropos to the music, Anderson and his extremely talented bandmates, drummer Luke Meade and and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Harris, have gone out of their way to create a record that's full of personal expression and individualist treatments. Harris is a one-man wrecking crew, skilfully playing solid licks on electric guitar, banjo, and dobro. He's clearly a string master, but what really sets him apart is his ability to stay in the background to allow Anderson's vocals their proper space in the mix. "Wait Darlin'" has a solitary guitar lead-in riff that gives way to a related but gentler banjo lick, and when the vocals come in, the song takes off. The title cut (“As Long As This Thing's Flyin'”) , also begins with a tender acoustic intro, and builds to a foot-tapping mournful tune (credit the dobro). The trio work together beautifully. Meade is equally willing to lay back and provide just a shaker or a lone kick drum if that's what best suits the song. This trio has a knack for filling the room full of sound even without having a bass player – I think that is attributable to the musicality of the gifted musicians (“The Hawk”, “Dammit Man” are good examples). This cd is intriguing on two fronts: the tightly knit music, and the philosophical bent of the lyrics. There are a total of 14 tracks on this, Andrew's first full-length cd, but I predict that this won't be his last - especially with the awesome talent of his bandmates/co-producers. Just my two nickels -------------------- Nick

ARTIST BIO: One thing is certain, he dominates the mandolin. Andrew began playing mandolin at age 15, inspired by Thile's music, and entirely self taught. His record for writing and playing his own music goes back much farther thanks to a musical family and access to his mother's piano and his father's guitar. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for mandolin performance. His guitar playing is good, but his fingers are so fast on the mandolin, it makes your eyes water. The nomadic life of a songwriter has traced his road from Idaho to Seattle to Boston and back again. Boston didn’t poison his imagery with ivy halls, or city lights. His songs paint lonesome highways that stretch into nowhere, a neighbor with a gun, and a dame he can’t win. The world through Andrew’s eyes is one where all lessons are learned from mistakes, the ghosts of which still haunt him. Andrew would like to be the next Hank Williams, but, he says, “I don’t want to die in the back of a car.” Andrew’s music ranges from full band, pulsing blues-rock, to the lightest country croon. om the basis of Harris's cello arrangements, I'd love to hear what he could create with a full-blown string quartet. "Once Met a Girl," ) than when he's trying to sing in someone else's shoes (the slightly awkward "Send the Bastard Running"). What's important is that he's writing songs about different subjects and from different perspectives, something that will keep his material consistently improving. With Meade and Harris in the fold, he's got to keep his game up to meet the challenge of providing songs worthy enough for players this good and this smart. It's this blending of Dylan-style vocals with structured rock chords and bittersweet subject matter that creates a wholesome album, As Long As This Thing's Flyin', their fourth full-length endeavor. The fast-paced number "The Hawk," in particular, makes this reviewer want to dance with a pretty lady. The band has a variety of influences. On their MySpace profile, they quote Ernest Hemingway, Jack London and J.K. Rowling, and those inspirations are expressed via guitars, banjos, mandolins, drums, pianos and harps.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.