Edward David Anderson - Lies & Wishes
Record Label: The Royal Potato Family
Release Date: April 29, 2014
In just five short years the tiny Brooklyn label The Royal Potato Family has released albums that demand national attention. In 2009 it was Nathan Moore’s Folk Singer, 2010 gave us Surprise Me Mr. Davis’ That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast, in 2011 it was the The Dead Kenny G’s uber-inventive Operation Longleash, 2012 it was Marco Benevento’s masterful TigerFace and last year it was Kenny Roby’s gorgeous Memories and Birds. This year that title belongs to Edward David Anderson’s Lies & Wishes. Anderson, who used to front North Carolina Americana outfit Backyard Tire Fire (BTF), once again mines the same sonic territory but this time goes a lot deeper. Though he falls short at times, the disc's centerpiece tracks reveal a talent that deserves limitless reverence.
Beginning with the direct, immediate and thumping opener “Lies & Wishes,” the disc makes a sizable dent from the very first minute. Underneath Anderson’s inspiring vocals and a simple acoustic guitar, an inspired electric guitar, a throbbing bass and rattling drums threaten to break the song open but never once does it happen. The tantalizing trick serves as superb segue for the rest of the disc. Drums take center stage on the tropical “Lost & Found,” a funky paean to intestinal fortitude that rises on the wings of Anderson’s soaring vocals. Always an honest and approachable lyricist, he tackles his autobiography on the jaunty and jubilant “Son of a Plumber.” Ostensibly a valentine to his blue-collar upbringing, it’s the kind of song that would make Springsteen proud. Anderson turns inward on the intimate albeit hypnotic “Pins & Needles,” a splendid segue to Side A’s closer “Taking It Out On You,” arguably the album’s most upbeat and rocking number.
Side B opens with “I Missed You,” a ruminative and rustic foray into co-dependence that stacks up against any of its predecessors as the album’s apex moment. Not one to stay mired in balladry, the veteran troubadour kicks things back up on the vernal singalong “Nothing Lasts Forever.” The disc’s closing triumvirate opens with the bluegrass-infused “Chain Reaction,” easily one of the disc’s finer moments. Much of Anderson’s sonic palate is formed by combining the historic textures of Americana and folk with a modern approach to rhythm and tempo. Of the ten songs on the disc, no one elucidates bette than the inimitable “Chain Reaction.”
Penultimate cut “Fires,” is a breezy albeit woozy love song that moves like a hammock swing but does very little towards distancing the album from Anderson’s contemporaries. On the contrary, the frolicking closer “The Next Melody” does the exact opposite. After a lackluster and rather ordinary two minutes, the song takes on new life in the final minute and in a rousing 30 seconds, Anderson hits at exactly why he’s so well worth repeated listens. Though he often fails to utilize his booming voice, it truly is a tremendous asset. That skill combined with his inherent song crafting abilities reveal exactly why the Asheville songsmith will remain an Americana name worth remembering in the months and years to come.
While Lies & Wishes never reaches the brilliance of the BTF discography, there’s enough on this disc to think that given enough time and resources, Anderson will craft an album that will leave thousands breathless. Hell, he’s already done it with BTF, and on Lies & Wishes, he’s already pretty darn close.