Anderson Band – Aqua Gardens
Anderson Band provides a slice of Americana with an old school sound that makes sense today. The lyrics speak with a voice that has seen the beauty in a simple life, without ignoring the pain that can lie just under the sunlit surface. Their new EP, Aqua Gardens, draws out the contrast between that sense of security and nostalgia that we build over time, and the wisdom to know that everything can disappear in a heartbeat. Vocalist and co-founder of this duo, Joy Burnworth, tells us that many of the images, including the EP title, refer directly to events and places of the past. You do not need to be from this small town, though, to be moved by these stories. Burnworth and her long time musical counterpart, Howie Anderson, do a great job of bringing the message to life.
After a hiatus of many years, Anderson Band came back together, enriched by the experiences they have loved and endured. The title track begins with innocence of summer. A girl and her mother enjoy their time together, with sunshine, hot dogs and happy times of a time long gone. But Mom is “blacker than tan” from the sun, and the girl is “burnt [her] suit full of sand.” The smiles on their faces are real, but life is marked, already, with events left untold.
“One Mistake” is full of the pain of a broken relationship. But there is no cliché here. The lyrics take ownership without descending into self-indulgence. For Anderson Band, that time has passed. There is a maturity here that speaks to experience without preaching or whining.
The track, “Full of Empty”, explores how life, like the wrong boyfriend, can be “full of empty; a brighter side of dark,” with “[a] finger on the pulse of [your] heart.” We are vulnerable to love, and life, but we just do not know when things can turn.
Conceptually, the EP holds together well. There is an integrity that makes this a work you can listen to in its entirety, although every track stands on its own.
As for the sound, you might be taken back to the time of Roseanne Cash’s “Kings Record Shop.” The guitar sound and beat set the tone, with the occasional banjo, and just-twangy-enough steel guitar. The sound has a folk rock feel that makes it accessible to a wide range of listeners.
Burnworth’s vocals are immediately reminiscent of Roseanne Cash, but they are not so simple to pin down. Her range hits the high notes with sweetness. At the same time, she has a soulful edge that has an almost jazz feel to it. Listen to “One Mistake,” or and the anthem-like “When We Sing.” You will hear what I mean.
Treat yourself to this sound experience. It will tell you a musical story that soothes, and sends you into nostalgic moments, before the lyrics sink in and send a shiver through you. After it all, you will feel refreshed and thoughtful.
Review by Tekla Luchenski
Purchase Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/anderson6