Material: Alt-country artist Kasey Anderson, in town to promote his new release, From A White Hotel, is an artist who has paid some heavier dues than most. After a stint in prison on a wire fraud conviction, and a subsequent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, his journey out of a dark place is a testament to a life that can be turned around and once again embrace creativity. Though the new album features his current band, Hawks and Doves, Anderson played this particular show as a solo act, which proved to be a good setting for listeners to focus on his lyrics and capture the intended sentiments. In “Some Depression,” Anderson’s explanation as to his underlying emotional upheaval is clear and direct: There ain't no pension in my profession/And all my life’s been a natural regression/Lean in close I’ve got a confession/I’ve been dealing with some depression. With a simple chord structure and catchy chorus, Anderson then pays it off with the song’s title. In “Bullet Proof Heart,” Anderson portrays disillusionment and a search for his place in the world: And when it’s all over they take you apart/And find that no one is born with a bulletproof heart/Shout it out all around the world/There ain’t no thing as a real American girl. Though clever and thoughtful, there is no mention in the song of a woman or a male/female relationship, which makes the tagline of
the chorus somewhat jarring.
Musicianship: With a Dylanesque sound that is imbued with more clarity than gravel, the mix of the lone guitar with his vocals resonated well in this particular venue. Anderson’s sense of phrasing is musical and impactful.
Performance: As the set progressed, Anderson increasingly won over the audience, a boost for any artist, especially when the music is new to some people. The artist used his time economically, filling it with new material as well as past works, including “Like Teenage Gravity,” covered by Counting Crows (who he toured with) from their album Underwater Sunshine. Following suit, the set could have included Anderson’s take on a cover written by another artist in his genre. Above all, his affable
demeanor and authentic presentation resulted in a successful performance.
Summary: There is definitely a thread of darkness running throughout Anderson’s material, but not so much that it leaves you without a silver lining, which his current life has many more of. While his material has plenty of depth and craft, adding a couple of songs out of his comfort zone would bring further dimension to his act.