Edward David Anderson might not be that well known to many of you (he sure wasn’t to me before I got hold of his CD).
But that should change given what he has been able to deliver with Chasing Butterflies, his third solo studio record (released this October on his own Black Dirt Records).
Anderson has been writing songs, making records, and playing shows for a living for more than two decades. A gifted songwriter who spent his formative years fronting an American Midwest band Backyard Tire Fire, and penned eight albums for the band. Since the group’s hiatus in 2011, Anderson has continued to write and tour as a solo artist, with his solo debut Lies & Wishes out in 2014.
It was through a tip from a friend that Anderson connected with Grammy Award winner Jimmy Nutt (The SteelDrivers) from the historic Muscle Shoals region. A natural rapport between the two developed quickly which led to Jimmy’s NuttHouse Recording Studio in Sheffield Alabama. Diverging from past albums Anderson used local session musicians for his backing band. “I felt the way to get the most authentic Shoals sound was to play with people who live and work there”, he said. Nutt played bass and brought in Jon Davis (Dylan LeBlanc) on drums, Brad Kuhnon keys, Todd Beene (Lucero) on pedal steel and Kimi Samson on (violin).
The chemistry from the commingling of Anderson with Nutt and then the studio players leaps out from the speakers. The quick, studied immersion they all experienced in the studio is another bristling, tangible benefit.
It’s easy to picture Anderson totally living the experiences in the narratives here and his wry and candid insights educate and amuse us all.
Key tracks are the disturbing epic tale of race and injustice (with majestic, swirling fiddle) in “The Ballad of Lemuel Penn”, the brutally honest “Bad Tattoos” (“The story of my life’s written on my skin”) and the hypnotic “Crosses” with its rousing and extended instrumental section closing out the track.
On Chasing Butterflies, Edward David Anderson commands our attention with his accomplished songwriting and sublime presentation. He certainly has mine. It’s a triumph.
Here’s a sound clip of “Crosses”: